Wingate & Finchley fell to a 3-1 loss at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough on Tuesday night despite a 10-day rest after a 2-0 win at Merstham FC, writes Nikhil Saglani.
The Blues had the first chance of the night after only a minute when Marc Weatherstone’s looping header from a corner evaded the Hampton defence but could only find its way onto the roof of the net. Four minutes later, a sumptuous pass from Tommy Tejan-Sie found Lee Barney who, after outmuscling Hampton’s giant centre-back, shot across goalkeeper Mark Smith but his attempt was parried away well.
Despite the early pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead when Brendan Kiernan turned on the edge of the box and curled a left-footed shot past a helpless Jack Metcalfe, who had kept five clean sheets in seven matches prior to this game.
However, after a wayward Charlie Moone shot and some nervy defending, Wingate flicked the switch and turned on the swagger that Simon Lane’s side have become known for in the Ryman Premier League. A move consisting of well over 20 passes almost ended in an equaliser, but Dan Brown’s through ball into Barney was adjudged to have found the striker in an offside position and the move broke down. On 42 minutes, Barney whipped in a cross from the right hand side of the box and, with strike partner Billy Healey lurking in behind, Moussa Diarra cleared the ball for a throw in.
The Blues went up the other end and after a failed corner found its way back to Tejan-Sie, the midfielder whipped in a cross to the back post which found Ahmet Rifat – who headed home from inside the six yard box to level the affair. Diarra almost put his side back in front just before the half-time whistle, but headed just wide from a corner and the sides went into the break level after an entertaining half.
However, the second half was an entirely different affair, for both sides. Hampton had the first notable chance of the half but Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick fired a shot well over the crossbar from the edge of the box. Tejan-Sie’s curling effort was caught by Smith for Wingate’s first chance and despite dropping the ball, the Hampton keeper was able to gather before a Wingate striker could pounce on his error.
Some strong defending from the hosts on 57 minutes prevented Hippolyte-Patrick from running in on goal but, on 68 minutes, Moone powered home a shot into Metcalfe’s bottom right corner to put the visitors 2-1 up, stunning the Abrahams into silence.
However, Smith was required to keep his side ahead only three minutes later when Mark Goodman’s shot-cum-cross left the keeper scrambling to push the ball over his crossbar to avoid an embarrassing goal. With 13 minutes to go, the visitors had two shouts for penalties turned down and the hosts broke up the other end. This time, Kyle Watson’s shot-cum-cross forced Smith to once again push the ball over his bar to avoid an equaliser. The keeper’s outstanding effort was rewarded when, on 80 minutes, Harry Taylor’s marauding run found Kiernan, who curled home his second of the game to ensure all three points would travel back to Hampton & Richmond Borough.
With six minutes to go, Weatherstone tripped Moone inside the area and the visitors were given the chance to go 4-1 up from the spot. However, Metcalfe prevented Kiernan from taking the match ball, diving excellently to his right to keep the ball out from 12 yards – but the game ended 1-3. The result equalled Wingate’s heaviest defeat in the league this season and was only a third home defeat in the 2015/16 campaign.
WingateTV interview with Jack Metcalfe:
Wingate XI: Metcalfe, Goodman, Watson (Bartram, 85), Solomon, Weatherstone ©, Rifat, Brown, Tejan-Sie (Tison-Lascaris, 82), Barney (Powell, 77), Oliyide, Healey.
Unused subs: Rose, Marriott.