Are We Running Out Of Steam?

There we were at a key point in the season sitting in third place.   Then we had a couple of draws.   I missed the one at Romford but reading between the lines of the official match report it was a get out of jail free card like the one before.   All of which didn’t bode well for the visit by AFC Sudbury on Saturday.

AFC Sudbury are a good team with a top class keeper who would take some beating.   With both sides liking to pass the ball, if Wingate & Finchley were on their game it should have been an entertaining match.   But, the first surprise for us fans was that two of our best players were sitting on the bench and would only enter the fray in the second half.  The game kicked off and within the first 5 minutes David Laird had his collar felt – actually it was his whole shirt – by a Sudbury defender in the penalty area, twice!   On neither occasion did the ref see anything wrong 😦   In fact, the ref was going to spend the whole match not seeing much and saying a lot.  I think he thought he was interviewing players for a post match conference, he talked so much.   I know we complain a lot about referees that reach straight for a card, but this guy was at the opposite extreme.    Fortunately, because both teams like to play football, it didn’t degenerate into a bloodbath, or maybe it was the old Monty trick of talking them to a state of boredom?   The first half passed without much incident – both sides had half chances and Joe O’Brien had a very good effort from a free kick that drew a fine save from the Sudbury Keeper.

The second half saw Ahmet brought on immediately.   Ola hit the woodwork early on and put in some good balls for the front men whilst our defence fought off Sudbury’s attacks.   The game continued in a 0 – 0 fashion until a free kick, I suppose around half way through the half – actually might have been slightly earlier.   Taken from close to the halfway line the ball bounced over the heads of the players waiting to attack it on the edge of the box then bounced once more into the corner of the W&F goal with Bobby a disgusted observer somewhere halfway between the sticks.   the official report tells me the scorer was Michael Shinn – well he didn’t shin that one!   With W&F  attacking in an effort to get back in the game, Sudbury broke away twice in the dying minutes to score two more well taken goals and to seal a 3 – 0 away win.

Nicky Eyre Saves!

Nicky Eyre Saves!

A disappointing result for us and the general feeling was that 1-0 to the visitors would have been a fairer outcome.   In reality, the outcome of the game hinged on two key moments.  The first half save by Nicky Eyre, Sudbury’s keeper, from Joe’s free kick and the freak goal from Michael Shinn’s second half effort.   I also think we missed Gary Burrell – currently out with an injury.

It was good to get the chance to chat with Nicky in the bar afterwards to get his view of things and also to get Gavin’s thoughts as he waits for the all clear from his hand injury.   The Sudbury fans were their usual friendly selves – a small group of them were singin Sudbury! Sudbury! Sudbury! behind our goal.  By some effect of the acoustics, pronounciation or maybe me going a bit mutton… it sounded like they were singing submarine.   I had a laugh with them about this and, as Sudbury’s away kit is yellow, we had a quick chorus of Yellow Submarine 🙂

Next up are Maldon and Tiptree twice – at home in the Championship Manager cup and away in the league.   I wonder how many will be on the pitch at the end of those matches – see ‘It’s Always Difficult Playing Against 10 Men’ in my January Archive.   One thing is for sure – the players are going to have to pull their socks up and tuck in their shirts if we’re going to win either of those matches!

All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC.

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