It was a frustrating evening at the Maurice Rebak Stadium. In truth, it’s been a frustrating few weeks in N12, as Tuesday night’s result saw us slip to our fifth defeat in the last seven, having scored just three times over that spell.
The visitors, local rivals Potters Bar, who are starting to turn things around following a terrible start to the season, are facing the opposite fortunes, having extended their unbeaten record to eight games after their 1-0 win at the Maurice Rebak Stadium, and seem to be going from strength to strength.
That strength showed when David Hicks ran into the Wingate box to pick up a neat layoff, and was able to fire it past Fergal Hale-Brown in the Blues’ goal to put Bar into a single goal lead that was enough to take them into the fourth round of the Velocity Cup - a competition that they finished as Runners Up in last season.
The goal came on 57 minutes, and you would say that it happened against the run of play. In fact, how Potters Bar weren’t behind by that point is something that most of the Wingate fans there on Tuesday will be left asking themselves after the final whistle. Rhamar Garrett-Douglas, back in his more natural position of RWB, looked really lively down the right hand side in the first half, and he combined well with Manny Yeboah, getting the start in the 10 shirt, to get behind the Potters left-back seemingly at will. They managed to put dangerous balls into the area, and create chance after chance for the Blues, however crucially failing to turn the attacking domination into a lead on the scoresheet. That was largely thanks to some fantastic goalkeeping from Laurence Shala in the Potters goal, on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. His composure went beyond his years, and he was regularly out to smother attacks and crucially, to keep Wingate off the scoresheet.
Chances fell to Garrett-Douglas, Yeboah, and Chukwu, but perhaps the best opportunity of the whole game was Ruben Carvalho’s. It again came down the right hand side, and culminated with Garrett-Douglas putting in a fizzing ball across the six yard box where Ruben was waiting to tuck it home from point-blank range. What he didn’t count on was the defending of Prosper Keto, who managed to intervene at the last second to deny the certain goal and preserve parity when it looked for all the world like the Blues would take the lead.
And so the Potters Bar goal, when it came, was a crushing blow given the Blues’ dominance of the first 57 minutes. It allowed the visitors a foothold in the game, and they managed to marshall the rest of the proceedings nicely, limiting chances for the Blues and generally controlling the midfield battle.
It might be a relief for the team to get back to league action on Saturday, given that they have played in four separate cup competitions over the last few weeks. They travel to Hastings, themselves without a win in over a month, looking to put things right, and push themselves further up the league, before returning home for the remainder of October, for no fewer than four consecutive home games.
Wingate & Finchley: Hale-Brown; Webb (Sellers 73’); Williams (Ifil 45’); Frimpong (Long 45’); Mitchell-Nelson; Nazor; Garrett-Douglas; Carvalho; Chukwu; Yeboah; Siggers (Francis-Adeyinka 82’)
Unused Subs: Frempah