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Report: Wingate & Finchley 2-0 Potters Bar Town

The difference between being effectively safe from relegation, and mathematically safe is one that can sometimes be missed in the final throes of a season. But there is no doubt that that difference will be felt by all in the Wingate football family this evening following a thoroughly deserved three points at home to Potters Bar which guarantees Isthmian Premier football at the Maurice Rebak next season.

In truth, Wingate have not really looked like relegation candidates (excepting one tough run of games at the turn of the year), and they showed why this afternoon, with two bright goals, a clean sheet, and some beautiful passing in the middle of the park; the only blemish being a missed penalty at the end of the first half.

That miss from Dylan Kearney, which was the result of some really nifty footwork from Matty Achuba after he danced his way into the area and was brought down, was the only real blot on the copybook all afternoon. It was a fantastic save from Hoti in the Potters Bar goal, but his brilliance came too late for the visitors, having been beaten already by Kearney when he opened the scoring.

Dylan had been put through down the right hand side, and he managed to evade the challenge of a defender by cutting the ball back onto his left foot. This time, Hoti had been caught in two minds about whether to come for the ball, and as a result was in no-man’s land when Kearney was bearing down on goal. Dylan cleverly lifted the ball over and round the keeper with his left foot, nestling it in the top left corner and wheeling away to celebrate his goal - one he had in fact predicted on his social media earlier in the day.

His prediction came true for a second time after half-time. It was an easier finish this time, as he was the beneficiary of some excellent work from Elliot Long, who once again proved his value to this team. He managed to nip in between two Potters Bar defenders and win the ball, setting himself through directly on goal in the process. As cool as you like, he waited for Hoti to come and close him down, before squaring the ball a couple of yards to the right to a gleeful Kearney who was ready to tap the ball home, doubling the lead and his count for the match.

The second goal was no less than the Blues deserved throughout the game. Potters Bar came into the match looking like a side who had won once in their last 14, and their sorry showing continued at the MRS. They were unable to limit space for Cornish and Yeboah in midfield, Sam Cornish in particular really bossing the game, and they ultimately lacked the quality to really test Ben Goode in goal. Their one bright spark came when captain and rightback Finn Titchmarsh flashed a dangerous ball across goal, but there was nobody there to tap the ball home.

And so Wingate could manage the rest of the game relatively scare-free. They looked closest to a third goal when Luke Ifil lifted a ball over a crowd in the box, picking out Ben Siggers at the back post. Ben volleyed the ball towards goal from 3 yards, but to his disbelief there was an outstretched leg on the goal line waiting to clear the ball behind. That Ifil-Siggers combination has been a familiar sight for the Blues lately, but as has been the case so far, they have been unable to put in the decisive finish despite a number of fabulous opportunities.

2-0 was how the game finished, and the referee’s final whistle was greeted with glee by the majority of the 224 in attendance, each of whom understood the mathematical implications of the victory. It means it’s 6 points in 3 days for Wingate, who leapfrog Margate in 16th and will have their sights set on Potters Bar and Bognor Regis above them with just two games remaining.

The final home game of the season is against Herne Bay next Saturday, who know that anything other than a big win (and a Kingstonian defeat) will see them slip out of the division after just one season. It promises to be a cracker, and a fantastic way to close out the home season. The season will then come to a close away to Carshalton the following Saturday.

By Chris Cummings


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