If you’re looking for value for your money, Wingate & Finchley’s fixtures against Whitehawk this season have provided nothing but the top bang for your buck.
180 minutes, 12 goals (!), four points for the Blues, and fantastic quality has followed these sides when they met this season, and Saturday’s result was more of the same.
Wingate’s five goals in January’s head to head were all straight out of the top drawer, and showed the level of ability that exists within the dressing room. Tristan Thomas referred to it in his post match debrief, and it has been a theme through performances all year.
The difference was that on Saturday, the side got full value for their dominance.
Full value in this sense was five well taken goals, three of which fell to man of the moment Ruben Carvalho. After powering a first half free-kick through the Whitehawk wall from less than 20 yards out, he scored twice in three second half minutes, to knock any ideas of a comeback from a resurgent Whitehawk right out of them.
The first of these two was on the back of a mazy run, where he weaved his way through a number of defenders and into the Whitehawk area, before striking one low across the goalkeeper from the inside right channel, into the bottom left corner. It was a marvellous goal, and all the more important, given it was just 60 seconds after Whitehawk had got themselves back into the game.
His third, Wingate’s fourth, was only two minutes later, as Matty Achuba pounced on a loose pass in midfield. He drove towards goal, laying it off to Ruben who was outside him on his left, allowing the attacker to bear down one on one with the goalkeeper. He made no mistake this time (after spurning a similar chance to end the first half), and smashed it through the helpless keeper to round off his hattrick.
It was no less than he deserved for his performance, and it catapulted him right into contention for the all important race to be named as Wingate’s top scorer at the end of the year. He now sits one behind Elliot Long, who himself got on the scoresheet with one of the goals of the year. Coming at 4-1 up, it really killed the game off. Alkeo Bani received a short corner and whipped a ball into the area, where Elliot was waiting, back to goal, to flick the ball into the top corner as the entire Whitehawk backline could do nought but simply watch.
And Anointed Chukwu, who now dips to third in the top scorer standings, was also able to get himself on the scoresheet. His header from 6 yards, was taken with class. Ahmet Biler’s ball in from the left found Anointed waiting unmarked, where he was able to wrong foot the goalkeeper and place the ball into the bottom left corner, just as the keeper was moving to his right.
If the race for the top goalscorer is important, it is only slightly behind the race that the Blues now find themselves in for a playoff spot come the end of the season. Following a gritty point in Kent last weekend, three points here (coupled with an Enfield defeat) mean the Blues jump up to 4th place, now five points clear of Hastings United in sixth.
Belief is starting to intensify, and the journey continues with two games in the next week - away at Bognor Regis on Tuesday evening (weather dependent), followed by a visit from Chatham Town next Saturday. Both games are huge in the context of the playoff race, and so next Saturday’s game is one you won’t want to miss.
We’ll see you there!
Wingate & FInchley: Goode; Solomon; Cracknell; Bani; Frempah; Achuba (Frimpong 80’); Garrett-Douglas (Krabbendam 74’); Carvalho; Chukwu (Newton 74’); Long; Biler
Unused Subs: Williams; Hernandez Photos courtesy of Martin Addison