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By Simon Swingler
Monday, March 24, 2014
Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler reflects on yesterday’s 2-2 draw away at basement boys Cray Wanderers.
This time last week Wingate & Finchley were sitting pretty, 11 points clear of the drop zone and, despite both Enfield Town and East Thurrock holding two games in hand on us, I felt quietly confident that we were on the verge of securing Ryman Premier League football at Summers Lane for the a fourth successive season.
The old adage that a week is a long time in politics is also true of football. In midweek both Enfield and East Thurrock successfully picked up points, with East Thurrock amazingly overcoming Maidstone while we battled to a 1-0 defeat away at Billericay.
Then on Saturday East Thurrock, who didn’t look like they could score in a month of Sundays against us a couple of weeks ago, put six goals past Hendon while Enfield nicked a point away at play-off contenders Dulwich Hamlet.
To compound matters further, we were not due to play until the Sunday as we were away at Cray Wanderers, who ground share with Bromley so often have to play a day later than everyone else.
So when The Blue Gods took to the field at Bromley we already knew that our game against bottom club Cray Wanderers had extra importance.
We were facing a side who had shipped over a century of goals already this season and, of course, we arrived south of the river armed with the lucky sandwich.
As is the norm at this time of the season, it was a nervy affair and, although Cray Wanderers are all but relegated, they certainly played like a side with a lot of pride and a point to prove.
We eventually took the lead when a set piece wreaked absolute havoc in the six- yard box. Adam Bolle and Marc Weatherstone seemingly ended up wrestling each other in an attempt to smash the ball home, and eventually the latter duly hit a crashing effort into the back of the net.
Cray proceeded to spurn two gilt-edged chances to restore parity when an effort was cleared off the line with Bobby Smith beaten - and then Moses Ashikodi raced through but put his effort wide of the post. By hook or by crook we entered the half- time break one goal to the good.
The second half was still in its infancy when the hosts leveled the scores. A free-kick was awarded on the edge of our box and up stepped Moses Ashikodi to curl a delightful effort over the wall and past the despairing dive of Smith.
Neither side really threatened until the final 10 minutes of the match with the exception of a Tommy Tejan-Sie effort that rebounded off the inside of the post and rolled agonisingly along the goal-line before being cleared to safety.
New signing Craig Davies became an instant hero with the travelling fans when he netted what we all prayed would be the winning goal late on with a bullet header.
However, only a couple of minutes later Cray equalised again when a half-cleared ball into the box was met by a fierce volley from Stavrinou, which flew past Smith and left us heading back north of the river with only a single point for our efforts.
Our next game is tomorrow (Tuesday) away at Lowestoft, which is quite a lengthy trip for a midweek game.
Lowestoft are one of the division’s big boys and should make easy work of what will more than likely be a depleted Wingate side. But as Jimmy Greaves used to quip, “it’s a funny old game”.
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