Wingate & Finchley achieved a massive three points on a chilly afternoon at the Harry Abrahams Stadium with an impressive 3-0 win; their 21st win of the season and 14th clean sheet, on what was a community day at the home of the Blues, writes Khalid Karimullah.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 3 Dulwich Hamlet 0
Saturday, 28 March, 2015
It didn’t take long for the first real chance to arrive, and it came for the away side after Jordan Hibbert found Nyren Clunis out on Dulwich Hamlet’s left wing, he managed to get past Marc Weatherstone and hit a low and powerful drive towards the bottom corner, but Bobby Smith was equal to his effort getting down to his right. At the other end, Karl Oliyide, Orlando Joao, and Tommy Tejan-Sie combined with nice intricate play, before the latter almost found Jack Read charging in on goal with a threaded pass, but the danger was cleared by a stubborn away defence.
The first goal of the game came after 33 minutes when the impressive Tejan-Sie, centre of goal, found Read who split the away defence with a precision pass finding Harrison Georgiou, who curled the ball round Phil Wilson at full stretch. Minutes later, after more good possession play from Wingate, Read himself had a 25-yard effort which the keeper did well to deny.
Dulwich Hamlet didn’t let that goal affect them however, after Joe Benjamin combined with the energetic Clunis inside the box, before hitting a curling effort which Smith did very well to get up to his right to palm away. With half-time approaching, Wingate almost doubled their lead after David Knight’s incredible cross-field pass out from the right channel attempted to find Jack Read; at first Michael Abnett intercepted the cross, but he couldn’t control the ball and after it got away from the defender, Read was able to get through on goal and with just the keeper to beat, the forward who had only been on the pitch because of Rob Laney picking up an injury before kick off, hit his curling effort inches over the top of the goal frame.
Immediately after half-time, the away side had two good chances and showed their intent on finding an equaliser. First, Xavier Vidal found Clunis with a lovely pass out wide who hit his effort just past the post, before the latter again from wide right this time, hit a driving 18-yard effort over the crossbar.
It was the home side nevertheless who scored the second goal of the game, doubling their lead on the 65th minute after Tejan-Sie out wide right found Read inside the area, who drove the ball across the six yard box finding Oliyide for an easy tap in. The Blues scored a third just three minutes later after Tejan-Sie dipped a great pass over the defence to Read, who after a good run delivered a precision cross-field ball to Knight who was taken down inside the box for a penalty, after getting past the keeper. The forward himself stepped up to take the penalty, scoring his 26th goal of the season, hitting his confident spot-kick down low and hard to Wilson’s left with the keeper at full stretch.
Knight had another chance to score after a good turn and shot down to the keepers right almost had Wilson beat, but the keeper did well to deny him. Although he was not able to hold on to the ball, and this allowed Read to have a chance at goal but the keeper again done well to make the save. The away side though looked to give their supporters something to cheer about, after Ashley Carew and Vidal combined with Kevin James, who hit an 18 yard dipping effort towards Wingate’s goal but Smith made an easy gather.
With the game entering it’s final minutes, substitute Mark Goodman found Knight with an impressive defence splitting pass but the forward couldn’t add to his goal tally, after his half volleyed attempt was easily saved by Wilson.
After the game, striker Jack Read said: “It was one of the best home performances of the season so far, we’ve beaten a very good Dulwich side who have been right up there this year so it was a massive three points to keep us amongst the pack. I had a great home debut and it was great to see so many fans here for the Community Day. You saw today that we had three 20 years olds in the starting line up and very few clubs at this level gives players this kind of opportunity. Ahmet (Rifat) and Brad (Hewitt) kept their strikers out brilliantly today and Bobby (Smith) hardly had a save to make.” Speaking about David Knight, he said: “To be on 26 goals for the season, you can’t complain about it at all.”
Joe Sharpe also commented on Tommy Tejan-Sie’s performance, and Wingate’s hopes for promotion, saying: “He’s a different class isn’t he? He’s great on the ball and belongs in the conference. We’ve got youth and experience in this squad and the managers are both very experienced too.”
Bobby Smith, Marc Weatherstone (c), Orlando Joao, Stuart Lake, Brad Hewitt, Ahmet Rifat, David Knight, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Jack Read (Joe Sharpe 86), Harrison Georgiou (Gavin Suddell 92), Karl Oliyide (Mark Goodman 75)
Subs not used:
Mark Goodman, Daniel Neilson, Joe Sharpe, Gavin Suddell, Gavin King