Codicote 0 Wingate & Finchley 3

In their third friendly of the preseason, Wingate & Finchley secured their first victory in this visit into Hertfordshire to face Codicote of the Spartan South Midlands League. The Gosling Stadium, which includes an angled cycling track, was a strange venue for viewing a football match but the playing surface was in excellent condition and made for an enjoyable game of football. Wingate dominated the opening stages with controlled possession and regimented defending, that ensured the hosts saw little of the ball. The breakthrough came in the 18th minute with the first clear opportunity, as Leon Smith received Ola Williams' through ball and lobbed the stranded goalkeeper. Wingate took the pressure off after the goal and Codicote forced their way back into the game. As they pressed higher up the pitch Wingate began to give the ball away as they found less time on the ball. Late on in the half the Codicote centre forward missed a golden chance when left free from a cross from the right but miscued with a close range volley. The Blues were restricted to long range efforts all of which missed the target. Wingate made eight changes at the break to give the whole squad a runout, and only 11 minutes after the restart the lead was doubled. Holding-midfielder Mark Henry surged forward and took a potshot from 25 yards, finding the net expertly as the ball arrowed into the bottom right corner. Confidence started to flow, and Paul Wright went on a jinking foray up the left wing. He selflessly squared the ball for Anderson Pinto but his shot was sliced off target. The second half played like the opening 20 minutes as Wingate controlled possession, although in a rare chance Codicote should have halved the deficit when the number 16 was found in acres of space, but his volley found the underside of the crossbar. At the other end, following a speedy break down the wing by Harry Robinson, Pinto unleashed a well-hit drive on the turn from ten yards but the keeper reacted instinctively to parry the ball up and away. Tactics and formations were shuffled in planning for the season ahead, and Manager David Norman brought himself on for a late cameo at centre-back. He added gloss to the scoreline as he powered home a header from close range following a corner, to make the score 3-0..

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