A first half hat-trick from Billy Healey sent Wingate and Finchley through to the semi-finals of the Ryman League Cup, with a 3-1 win away at Enfield Town, writes Andy Gerlis.
Ryman League Cup quarter-final:
Enfield Town 1 Wingate & Finchley 3
Tuesday, 16 February, 2016
The striker netted three times in the space of half an hour, taking his tally to 29 goals for the season, with an an excellent display of goalkeeping and defending from Keith Rowland’s men was only marred by a late goal from George Essuman, though the result never looked in doubt.
Leon Fisher could have opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but saw his curling shot tipped away by Nathan McDonald. Though Healey put Wingate 1-0 a minute later when a rapid counter-attack ended with Mark Goodman rolling the ball in to the box for the striker to tap under the goalkeeper. At the other end, Bobby Smith and Marc Weatherstone did well to block Essuman and Mickey Parcell’s shots, respectively.
With 23 minutes on the clock, Goodman reunited with Healey to make it 2-0. The right-back again beat his man for pace before drilling in a pass for the striker to collect and roll into the bottom corner to double his, and Wingate’s, tally.
Both goalkeepers were tested – McDonald stood up well to deny Karl Oliyide after the winger chased on to a loose backpass, while Smith stood up even better to keep out Claudio Vilcu’s attempted lob. And Vance Bola could have pulled one back for Enfield half an hour in, but the forward skied his shot when it looked easier to score. But Healey showed him how to do it when he completed his hat-trick four minutes later, a poor touch from McDonald allowed the striker to nick the ball away from his feet and tap it into an empty net.
Wingate saw the half out without too much difficulty and Fisher had the first chance yet again after the restart. Some nice footwork on the edge of the box gave him a sight at goal, but the winger could only pop his shot over the bar from a tight angle.
Jack Read replaced Healey 10 minutes into the second half, Rowland understandably deciding the striker’s work was done for the day. But misery was compounded for Enfield when Joe Stevens picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Ola Sogbanmu with 32 minutes left to play.
Both Samir Bihmoutine and Jack Read put chances wide for either side, while Bobby Devyne nearly opened Enfield’s account with a chip that narrowly landed on the roof of Smith’s net. Wingate’s goalkeeper stretched excellently to keep out Corey Whiteley’s 85th minute shot, Essuman scored from the resulting corner to make it 3-1. McDonald was also kept busy in the latter stages, doing well to keep out Read’s one-on-one shot and he had to remain alert when his defence failed to clear the ball, making himself big to twice deny Karl Stevenson seconds before the final whistle.
The result means Wingate and Finchley extend their winning streak in all competitions to three games and are at home against Merstham on Saturday, a side they have already beaten 2-0 this season, meaning the Blues will be confident of stretching that to four.
Wingate now find themselves in the semi-finals of the Alan Turvey Trophy and will play Kingstonian away on 29th February, while Faversham play host to Sittingbourne two days later.
* Meanwhile, Wingate have announced that Club founder Maurice Rebak passed away on Tuesday afternoon, aged 95.