It was the latest of late heartbreaks for Wingate & Finchley in a tight London Senior Cup Semi-final against Haringey Borough at Coles Park Stadium on Tuesday night, with an agonisingly late stunner from Matthew Young the only thing separating the North London sides.
Both teams came into the tie on respectable runs of form, the Boro’ in particular. As attention turned away from league action, this competition offered an opportunity for silverware in an otherwise underwhelming campaign. Anyone anticipating a thriller would be wise to check the results between these sides this season already, with both league games this season ending goalless.
The first half followed suit with very few clear cut chances. Haringey seemingly grew into the game and had three consecutive crosses flash across the goalmouth as the 45 drew to a close. Neither side, however, troubled their opposition keeper much in the first period.
This pattern continued in the second half of normal time, with a number of half-chances for both teams missing the target, Luke Ifil arguably missing the best chance of the half when he blazed the ball over the Borough goal from 15 yards out.
Murmurs of the dreaded extra half an hour lingered around Coles Park.
The referee’s full-time whistle eventually sent a harmonious sigh around the ground. No cries of a penalty shootout just yet, however.
Throughout extra-time, the Blues had a number of set piece opportunities which were all unable to find a Wingate head. The visiting fans knew that one of these opportunities had to be taken to seal the tie without spot-kicks.
The tie really did feel as if it was meandering towards penalties… or maybe not.
Just as the strong crowd of 302 were beginning to accept the night’s fate, up stepped Haringey midfielder, Matthew Young. The Leyton Orient loanee drilled the ball into the top left of the Wingate goal, sending the vociferous home fans into raptures and in the process, break Wingate hearts, prolonging their ongoing search for silverware.
A commendable cup run for the Finchley boys, but a staggering Haringey victory sees them reach the final of the competition for the first time since 1991, where they ran out eventual winners.
Tough tests for both on Saturday afternoon as Canvey Island visit Summers Lane and Aveley come to N17 to face Tom Loizou’s London Senior Cup finalists.
By Aaron Toubian