Well – having given away the result in the title I should record that as in Saturday’s game against Cheshunt, Wingate & Finchley beat Needham Market 2-1 on Tuesday night. But what a difference between the two matches! If the Cheshunt game was anything but an advertisement for ‘The Beautiful Game’, Tuesday night’s clash with Needham Market demonstrated that real quality football is played at all levels of the game. The ‘highlights’ of the Man U v Chelski Champions League match suggest that those who chose to stay at home and watch that game were short changed on the entertainment front.
The match kicked off with Needham Market launching a series of attacks which challenged the home defence to demonstrate their determination to maintain a clean sheet. Bobby was called into action on numerous occasions – Shouting ‘Keepers’ as he came for balls in his area, barging through the ranks of defenders and attackers to get there. The fluidity of the passing by Needham was a joy to watch and they looked very quick to the ball. However, despite all the pressure, the closest they came to scoring was a rasping shot to the top left of the goal which Bobby got two strong hands to and then watched it as it bounced across the mouth of the goal and out for a corner – The Needham fans behind the goal were still thinking it was going in until it squirmed past the post. There was another attempt on the W&F goal when Wrighty mis-hit a back pass – Fortunately skipper Danny Neilson was alert to the danger and hoofed it clear.
By now, and having had much of the play in the W&F half, the Needham fans were singing ‘We’re gonna score in a minute’… There is an old adage about chickens and hatched which, coming from the farming county of Suffolk, perhaps should have come to mind. No sooner had they started that little ditty than Jordan got a pass away to Lewis who sprinted clear of the Needham defence and wrong-footed the keeper by passing across the area where Leon beat the left back to the ball for a tap-in.
After this, both sides got their passing game going well and we were treated to a great display of end-to-end football. During this passage of play Leon doubled his tally with a shot across the Needham keeper into the bottom left corner. But Needham continued to threaten and were rewarded in the dying minutes of the half with a goal of their own. An an aside, the half was marked by a number of mis-hit shots from the strikers of both sides – peppering the trees and tennis courts behind the goals. Leon had one sliced shot which veered off towards the corner flag rather than the goal! – I have a photo of it and am open to bribes not to publish it 😉 There were quite a number of chances for both teams and chatting with the Needham fan in the Manc shirt in the photo above, on our way to the bar at half time, we agreed that it could easily have been 4-4! Another surprise from the first half was the number of free kicks awarded – 2, both for off-side! Which goes to show that when both teams get their heads down and play passing football fouls are much rarer.
The second half was more of the same. Although Needham Market had more of the possession – they struggled to create real chances against the solid defence of Danny Neils’ and Ahmet in the centre, whilst Weather’s and Ola kept the crosses into the box to a minimum. The closest that Needham would come to scoring was with one superb cross that Bobby palmed off the head of the Needham centre forward. He only just got the glove to it and it could have come down anywhere and might have gone in for an own-goal off Ola who was behind them – fortunately it just cleared him and he was able to come away with the ball. W&F had some good attacks too and Lewis came close with a strike that the needham keeper parried over the bar.
With no further scoring the half-time score became the full-time result of 2-1. What can I say about the ref? – Not a lot, which must mean that he had a good game 🙂 And a big thanks to Needham for bringing a Forget-Me-Not coach to Finchley – Appropriately registered T4 GET, you can see it here if you’re interested 😉
All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC.