Just a quick update from Wingate & Finchley…
On Tuesday 13th The Blues traveled to Imber Court for an evening game against the Metropolitan Police. The first half was a good performance marred by casual defending. With the quality of the play Wingate & Finchley should have ended the half with a 2 goal lead. Early in the half Hector was brought down in the penalty area by the Police number 2 resulting in a penalty being awarded. Leon stepped up as he had done in the previous game but this time he placed his shot a little too close to the keeper who, guessing the right way, was able to make a fine diving save. Leon then struck the rebound onto the crossbar and over the goal. It was perhaps a sign that it wasn’t going to be our night. It was also the first of a number of excellent saves by Stuart Searle in the Police Goal despite carrying a calf injury – he would rightly end the night with the Man of The Match award. In between the Wingate attacks, the Police scored a great break-away goal when Tobi Alabi ran onto a nicely weighted pass that the defence failed to intercept and struck a beatiful shot past Bobby.
The Blues’ pressure finally told on the 38th minute when a free kick was awarded around 30 yards out. Spencer McCall’s pacey delivery was perfect for Marc Weatherstone and he was able to place his header beyond the reach of Searle to equalise. It was, in truth, a goal that had been coming and it should have provided the basis for a Wingate & Finchley victory. Instead, on the stroke of half-time, it was the Police who were to score next. One of the key parts of how Wingate play is passing from the back to the front. The team always look at their very best when the ball stays on the ground and is crisply passed from player to player. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy watching them! However, there is one place where I just wish the ‘passing game’ would be exchanged for the ‘hoof it clear’ approach and that is when we’re defending in our own penalty area. The second Police goal was a direct result of trying to pass our way out from the byline. After passing across the face of our own goal (another no-no!) a pass intended to feed the ball out to the wing was intercepted by a Police midfielder who promptly delivered a lofted crossfield pass to Manny Osei whose pinpoint cross into the box found the feet of Tobi Alabi who side-footed home for his second of the match. 2-1 at half time 😦
I bumped into Met Police kit man Chris MacPherson in the main stand and had a short chat with him regarding the first half. He was very impressed with the way that our side had played – much improved over last season – and thought that we really should have been in the lead at that stage. As an aside, Chris was once Piper to the Queen Mother, holding the rank of Pipe Major. He held the post from 1999-2001 and also played at the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002. You can read more about this role here.
The second half was a bit of a non-event. Wingate & Finchley huffed and puffed to no effect and created few chances with only a shot from Ahmet in the closing minutes forcing a limping Searle to make a save. To rub salt in the wounds, the Police broke away again in the final minute and scored with Bobby being drawn a long way out of his area to cover for the defenders who had been pushing a long way upfield. Bobby and Wrighty both appeared to receive yellow cards for dissent as they argued with the referee about a possible off-side – silly cards to get with only a couple of minutes injury time left to be played 😦
The Blues have subsequently played two more matches that I was unable to attend as we went off on a short family holiday. The first was away at Wealdstone where a 2-2 draw was the result in an even match. On Tuesday, Wingate & Finchley welcomed Grays Athletic to the Abrahams Stadium but were unable to secure a second home win as they went down 1-3. So, 4 points from a possible 12 – not too bad but we will need to improve if we aren’t going to be playing in the relegation zone again this season.
The next match will be against Kingstonian at home on Saturday whilst Bank Holiday Monday will see the team making the short journey to Hendon. Or it would be a short journey if Hendon still played at Claremont Road. Instead they’re ground sharing with Harrow Borough this season!
All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC. Please click on the Wingate & Finchley Badge to visit the Official Club Website.