It doesn’t get any better at Wingate & Finchley. We continue the post Christmas part of the season with more defeats. I think the issue lies with past and present managerial decisions – disposing of too many experienced players in one go and now, bringing in new strikers when it seems we are all too easily overrun in midfield. These are just the thoughts of a fotografer.. Wot do I know… Certainly not a lot about football – I’m just very frustrated! And when the senior player tweets a message looking to rejuvenate the relationship between the players and the supporters, I know how much it hurts them too. This isn’t a world of RangeRovers and Bentleys – Our players arrive in company vans and secondhand cars. A few – the longer suffering ones – seek me out for a quick chat – and that would never happen at a higher level of football 🙂

We have a few short weeks to stave off relegation but I already feel like Private Fraser… “We’re Doomed Laddie – Doomed!!!” I hope I’m wrong. Whatever – I’ll continue to support the team with my photos – here’s a few for you to enjoy…

Love and Best wishes from the Wingate & Finchley Photographer 🙂

…But it pours. Photos taken on a very wet visit to Lewes by train for a football match……A very rare win for Wingate & Finchley as we continue through the worst start to a season I can remember. Even the Chairman looks surprised! The class 313’s on the lines out of Kings Cross and Moorgate have gone for scrap but a small pocket of this 40 year old class remain in service with Southern on lines around Brighton. It may have been dry under the roof at Blackfriars on the way home but was still raining when I got to East Finchley 😦

The football season continues and we continue to grow as a side – each member of the team learning about his colleagues abilities. After the draws against Bowers and Pitsea and Kingstonian we faced a difficult FA Cup tie against Welwyn Garden City. Although they play in the level below us this could not be construed as an easy draw – there’s a reason why we usually arrange a pre-season game against them! The first half was nip and tuck with both sides trying to find and exploit weaknesses. Although Wingate & Finchley shaded proceedings, Welwyn had a couple of very good chances. Here’s skipper Shane Gore smothering one of them…The second period was a different affair. Some crisp passing by the home side saw youngster Alphonso Kennedy running onto a well placed pass and firing home under pressure from a defender – his first goal for Wingate…
…giving a 1-0 lead on the 50th minute.

The Blues defended well while manufacturing more attacks on the break. Frustration boiled over in the opposition dugout and the referee had to send the Welwyn Manager to the stand…… – for his lack of fashion sense, or so rumour has it 😉 Finally, the home side made the game safe in injury time when Olu Oluwatimilehin scored after some well thought out play by Tee-Jay and Layne Eadie set him up for a simple finish. Here’s Tee-Jay checking out the options as he ran forward with the ball……while a group of our fans look on in anticipation. That concluded the scoring and running out 2-0 winners see’s The Blues set to meet London Colney in the next round.

Bank Holiday Monday and a home game against old friends and rivals Haringey Borough. This was a league game and we were lying 20th after the first two draws that I reported in my last post and an embarrassingly heavy 5-0 defeat to bogey team Bognor Regis the previous weekend. The less said about that one the better except that we kept a clean sheet through the 1st half, only to collapse in the second. I know our manager, Steve, is working on building the team’s resilience and this game against top of the table Haringey was going to probably be a marker of how that work is progressing.

This was another game of a battling first half. Gorey was called into action early on to make a key save and keep the visitors out……At the other end Tony Mendy had two good efforts on goal that Boro’s highly regarded keeper Pajetet……was able to keep out. Another stalemate of a first half but some good football from both sides.

The second half saw the Finchley boys create a couple of good chances and Boro also attacking before Kennedy once more found the net after being put through by Olu with a well timed pass – 1-0 to Wingate! What followed was a mix of amazing and confusing. Roman, brought on for Mendy, raced through on goal and looked to round the keeper. Here’s a before and after shot…
…So often we see incidents like this where the striker is diving in an attempt to win a penalty without any contact being made. In fact, at the time, most of us (including me) thought that the penalty awarded by the ref was wrong. The keeper came very close to earning himself a yellow card for arguing his innocence with the ref. I don’t get the chance to check the photos while the game is going on and I can’t see what’s on the screen without my glasses anyway! In the aftermath however when processing I finally got to see the truth and can only say how impressed I am with the referee’s judgement. Sitting between those two shots above is this one……The keeper has literally grabbed hold of the players’ boot as he ran past to stop him scoring. So, what looked like a dive was a genuine penalty. For the record, each shot is one 10th of a second apart. We contrived to miss the penalty and it was left to Shane to pull off another wonder save like the one at the start of the game to ensure our first win of the season!

So, we’re slowly gathering some points and have crept up the table. More tough games to come with Hornchurch and Merstham coming up. But lots of positives at present. To celebrate I dug out a very old shot of Steve when he was last with us, back in 2012, and posted it on Twitter……A few less grey hairs back then 😉