Out And Out Disappointment

It’s been a poor run of form for Wingate & Finchley over the past month and the past week saw the team drop out of two cup competitions at the first stage.   I missed out on the trip down to Thamesmead for the Ryman League Cup encounter as Tuesday night away games can be difficult to get along to due to family commitments.   It was a game decided in the first minute as a free kick was awarded to the home side.   The lofted cross evaded the defence and was headed home by Lee Dawson.   Peter Rebak’s report of the match tells me that The Blues, despite having 75% of the possession could not find a way past the Thamesmead keeper during the rest of the first half.   The second half was more of the same until Murat was sent off for a second yellow card offence.   Not the most stirring defence of the trophy by its holders 😦

Saturday saw us playing host to Hornchurch in the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round – to give its somewhat ponderous title!   This autumn has been marked by good weather and again the game was played out in glorious sunshine on a pitch that has never looked better; now under the care of Alan’s Sons, Robert and Stuart.

Our previous meeting with Hornchurch was in the league at The Bridge Stadium where they ran out 1-0 winners with an offside goal that the linesman failed to rule out.   A sense of injustice can be a rallying point and encourage extra efforts to right a perceived wrong, though I suspect it can be a two edged sword.  I think I’ll leave it to the manager to decide how to motivate the troops.   Not that motivation is necessarily the issue with the team at the moment.

Keiron Hoofs

Keiron Hoofs it Clear

The game started well for the home side with Leon Smith pulling the strings like a master puppeteer and creating space for Mark Henry to whom he passed the ball for a simple tap in.   It’s great to see Mark getting on the score sheet – apparently for the second time since he joined the club (though I can’t remember his first).   A goal has been coming and will hopefully give his confidence a boost for the rest of the season.

The match lacked any real flow with little room in the midfield for players to pass successfully – interceptions became the order of the day and neither side seemed to be able to string together a series of passes.   Both sides had good attacks that broke down around the penalty area.   Leon had a good chance to double the lead with a shot that The Urchins keeper blocked – the ball squirting away harmlessly.

Urchins Fans

Urchins Fans in Fine Voice

At the other end the Hornchurch fans were staving off boredom by singing. ‘We hate Canvey Island, Dagenham & Redbridge too – they’re expletive deleted…’   A litany of the teams from the eastern fringes of London – Hornchurch’s near neighbours and therefore to be viewed with contempt 😉   Wingate & Finchley escaped sanction in their singing – we’re probably not on their radar at all yet!   I wonder what they’d say if they knew that their team travelled to the ground in exactly the same coach that delivered the Canvey Island team to Wingate & Finchley just a few weeks previously?

Their boredom was interrupted in the 30th minute by an attempt on goal that Gavin was able to parry away only for it to fall to the feet of the in-rushing Lewis Smith and he slotted home to equalise.   There you go again – when you’re having a bad run of form the luck goes against you too!   Their keeper blocks and gets away with it – Gavin blocks and it falls to the feet of an opponent.

The rest of the half passed without incident with no one looking like scoring.    The second half was like a Sunday morning kick-about in mid-field.  No serious action and no real chances for either side.   With very little time left on the clock the game had replay written all over it when a really long hoof forwards by the Urchins keeper was flicked on to find Lewis Smith who calmly placed the ball in the bottom corner of the goal beyond Gavin’s outstretched glove.   A bitter last minute defeat and another cup exit.


The Hornchurch Keeper Heads Clear

It’s difficult to know what the players make of it all at the moment.   It can’t be doing their confidence much good, although the likes of Weathers’ will always talk up the situation.   I had a chat with the goal keepers union in the bar afterwards.   Bobby was really feeling for Gavin – it was, after all, the injury to his hand that has ‘dumped Gavin into the thick of it’.    Gavin was clearly disappointed with the result but certainly wouldn’t have felt that he was on the receiving end of a bad string of results due to Bobby getting injured.   Pundits and fans often like to refer to keepers as eccentric or a bit weird.  If so, we could do with a bit more weirdness in the game – Bobby and Gavin are two of the most level-headed people out there 🙂

Bobby may also have put his finger on the current issues with the team and his thoughts certainly married up with my own.   Currently The Blues are playing like a group of individuals rather than a team – nothing seems to be gelling (except for Weathers’ hair!).   Why that should be is open to question.   New players brought in to cover for suspensions and injuries perhaps?   If the team can rediscover that togetherness of the previous season then I believe we will be safe.   If not, it promises to be a very long winter for Blues fans.

I will take a positive from these results and hope that the same thoughts are held by the team as they return to league action.   Neither was a stinging defeat – in fact since the Billericay match the losses have been by slender margins.   A few more chances created and a couple more converted will turn things around – the margins are that small!

Milestone Coaches N100MSC

Milestone Coaches N100MSC - Canvey Island and Hornchurch Team Coach

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



  1. Wonderful shots and play by play, Martin! 😀

    • Thanks Nancy – We do our best to handle and describe the adversities the team are facing 🙂 Just took a while to come up with the words this week.

  2. thirdhandart says:

    I’m really learning a lot of sports lingo from reading your blog. Riveting post and great photos! I hope things turn around for the team. 🙂

    • Hi Theresa – I think we knew it would be a hard season stepping up to the next level. I’m glad you enjoy the posts about our games. Hope the Football lingo isn’t too incomprehensible – If you ever need something explained, just ask! Thanks for your good wishes to the team, I shall pass them on 🙂

  3. This is a great post my imagination focus in football how i create my latest post
    you always have a great stolen shot everywhere in the game great shot .

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