Here we are on Friday morning and I should apologise to anyone who has been waiting with bated breath to find out if Saturday’s performance was repeated on Tuesday night when Wingate & Finchley took on Thamesmead Town. I’ve only just finished processing the photos from the game.
I usually arrive at the ground around 45 minutes before a match. It has become one of my rituals to greet our Keeper before I get a feel for the light and how it will affect photography during the match. Tuesday was no exception and I found Gavin and Bobby chatting together as they warmed up. Something about the way they were talking said to me ‘Gavin’s sitting this one out’ and so it proved to be – Bobby taking to the pitch with the team.
The match was good E2E stuff – great for the neutral, not so good for the photographer as I found myself moving around a bit more than usual in an attempt to capture the action. The performance by the W & F team was much more positive than the previous Saturday with the forwards getting much more support from the wings and midfield. With Lairdy holding the ball up well and Lewis making fast runs into the box W & F were keeping the Thamesmead defence busy and they were the first to crack, with Gary Burrell volleying home a cross from Lairdy – typically while I was retrieving a ball from the car park (where are the ball boys on a Tuesday night?)
Thamesmead’s keeper had a lucky escape as he rushed out of his area and took a yellow card for his team by bringing down Lewis after he had got clear of the defenders. A bit more central or in the area and it could have been red. We appreciate keepers at W & F and we don’t like to see them sent off, so there was no baying from the crowd for the ultimate sanction.
Our defence looked more solid this time as well – Weather’s returned to the right back position and could be heard throughout the game geeing up his team mates. ‘Come on – Keep going ‘til the tank is empty’ he was exhorting them with around 15mins to go. They needed encouragement too – for Thamesmead also had a great desire to win and kept the pressure up throughout the game. They might well have grabbed a deserved equaliser in the dying seconds – heading over the bar on one cross and then failing to get boot to leather (are footballs still made out of leather?) on the last attack of the match as a cross flew straight across the face of goal at a very inviting height.
After the match, Leon (who came on in the second half) might have been considering new boots or at least a change of studs as an inopportune slip in the area robbed him of a one-on-one chance against Thamesmead’s keeper with around 5 minutes to go.
All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC.