Wingate & Finchley travel to Ware FC for the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round on Saturday, after defeating Grays Athletic in a first round replay. The Blues go into the game off the back of a morale boosting 3-2 league victory over Merstham in midweek. That result is sure to give Wingate confidence and showed the side's bouncebackability following on from their disappointing away defeat at Bognor Regis Town.
Wingate have progressed beyond this round of the competition on just one occasion. The Blues beat Sutton United in 2008, before going out to Farnborough Town in the First Round Proper. Ware beat fellow Ryman League North Division outfit VCD Athletic in the previous round, to get to this stage for the first time since 2007. The Hertfordshire based club play their home games at Wodson Park and currently sit 16th in their 24-team league.
Ware came out on top in the last competitive fixture between the two sides, with a 2-0 victory in the Isthmian League Division One North four years ago. Wingate will have to watch out for Ware’s top scorer, Gareth Price, if they are to avoid a repeat of that result. The forward has bagged an impressive 15 goals in 19 games. His strike partner Brian Haule also has 13 goals to his name so far this season. Ware also feature former-Blue Murat Karagul.
There are some injury concerns for Wingate, who have midfielder Tommy Tejan-Sie and ex-Ware striker Billy Healey in a race to be fit for the game. Both are doubtful after knocks picked up last weekend ruled them out of Tuesday's win. However, Ben Pattie was a more than adequate replacement, scoring his first goal in a Wingate shirt and will be in contention for a starting place once again. Reece Beckles-Richards is also in fine form. His midweek double took his goal tally to seven for the season, making the winger Wingate’s top scorer.
Given that they play a tier above Saturday’s opponents, the away side go into the game as favourites. But this is a cup tie and Ware will be looking to cause an upset. There is still a long way to go before Wingate can start dreaming of a trip to Wembley. By Sam Jones