Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Away from home, this team really know how to get the job done. And so it proved this weekend at Lewes, where the Blues emerged victorious following a 2-1 win at the Dripping Pan; it was quite the contrast to last season's 5-0 defeat.
Anointed Chukwu’s 87th minute winner, as well as few magnificent saves from Ben Goode might give you the impression that it was a bit of a hit and run job in Sussex. But the reality was far from that, as the Blues created a good number of chances throughout the afternoon, and might feel slightly aggrieved to have only scored twice.
After Ahmet Biler’s cross was turned into his own net by Rooks defender Ronnie Vint, such was the quality of Biler’s delivery, the Blues continued to press forward. They set up in such a way that made it difficult for the hosts to break them down, and then broke with venom when given the opportunity.
They started the game with no ‘Number 9’ with Chukwu starting from the bench. It was Zack Newton who led the line, and his dynamism both set the tempo off the ball, as well as supported the wing threats of Long and Carvalho, who were their usual active selves as they pounced on mistakes from the home side and created chances for Wingate.
The best of those fell to Ben Frempah, who twice found himself completely free at a corner. Once, his header was bulleted straight at the goalkeeper, much to his dismay. The second time the ball climbed just over the crossbar and behind for a goal kick.
As the game wore on, substitutes Yeboah and Chukwu continued to create, with Yeboah in particular dribbling excellently with the ball. His best chance came after he beat four or five defenders, but couldn’t keep his shot on target. Chukwu for his part had two golden chances.
The first was with basically his first touch as his shot from the right inside channel was blocked brilliantly by a retreating Lewes defender.
His second was the game’s telling contribution. Long was fouled 25 yards out on the left side, and Biler’s freekick picked out Chukwu at the back post. He had time to bring the ball down, work it onto his right foot, and blast a shot into the bottom left corner of the Lewes goal. Cue scenes of jubilation.
The magical goal at the death had been set up by some formidable defending earlier in the afternoon. The hosts enjoyed long spells of pressure and possession, but other than their 4th minute goal, they were unable to turn possession into goals. The back five were strong in the air and proved difficult to beat time and time again in the face of Lewes pressure. When the hosts did manage to find a yard of space, which usually came when they could find the space between the central midfield pair and the defence, Ben Goode was there to extinguish the danger. He made more than one full length stop to keep the hosts at bay, and generally martialed the defence well, controlling the game as it wended its way to its theatrical conclusion.
Not far off the complete away performance then, and it is a welcome three points for the Blues who had lost their previous three games on the bounce. It will help to boost confidence ahead of the visit of Margate to the Maurice Rebak Stadium on Saturday 18th.
Tickets are just twelve pounds, and it’s a great chance to watch the boys as they continue their march up the table - they are now just one point outside the playoff places.
Wingate & Finchley: Goode; Garrett-Douglas; Cracknell; Frimpong; Frempah; Achuba; Dawodu (Williams 83’); Carvalho (Yeboah 76’); Newton (Chukwu 69’); Long; Biler
Unused Subs: Hernandez; Wilkinson