December 21 2013 Latest news:
By Simon Swingler
Monday, September 2, 2013
Wingate & Finchley supporter Simon Swingler looks back on Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home against Lowestoft Town.
It was a collection of rather bleary-eyed Wingate & Finchley fans that congregated behind the goal in anticipation of the game against play-off and title contenders Lowestoft Town on Saturday.
The night before the game we were all to be found enjoying the festivities at fellow Wingate fan Tom’s 30th birthday party - an event that was also attended by Marc Weatherstone, the captain of our great club.
It was a classy gesture that you would not find replicated at many clubs, even in non-league, and is just another example of how unique and special Wingate & Finchley Football Club is.
Another heart-warming tale from Summers Lane that occurred on Saturday surrounded an elderly Wingate fan by the name of Maurice, who has apparently been loyally following the club since its heyday in the early 1950s when it was simply called Finchley FC.
Uncharacteristically, Maurice had not appeared for the opening few home games of the season and questions regarding his wellbeing started to circulate.
Someone from the club was dispatched to ensure that our longest-serving fan was okay. It transpired that he had undergone some minor surgery in the close season and that, with a little help from his friends, he was back for the weekend’s game.
He was shuffling around the stadium with the sort of mobility I hope to have if I ever reach his age, as he gazed out onto the same pitch that he has been viewing for well over half a century.
I fully expected Wingate to endure a tough afternoon against the visiting Trawler Boys, who boast the second-highest average attendance in the league with an impressive 700 to 800 people frequenting their ground on average match day.
However, as it transpired, the Blue Gods were more than worth their point. It wasn’t a game for the purists but it certainly had its moments of entertainment and excitement.
Even in the early stages it felt like Lowestoft had arrived at Summers Lane in a bid to remain solid at the back and nick a point on the road - perhaps with ambitions for all three if they could catch up with their fleet-footed forwards on the counter-attack.
Wingate arguably enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, the highlight being when Ahmet Rifat found Hector Mackie on the left hand side with a sumptuous pass.
The Canada-bound winger took on his full-back and delivered a decent cross which leading scorer Leon Smith met with aplomb, but unfortunately Smithy’s effort was blocked fortuitously by the trailing leg of Lowestoft’s central defender.
Full-back Ola Williams and midfielder Spencer McCall also had the Lowestoft custodian scrambling with efforts from distance as the home side upped the pressure.
The best chance of the half fell to Smith when he was put through on goal following some sublime skill from David Laird, however his effort was saved by the goalkeeper as the sides went into the interval deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half was actually a bit of a non-event, and I spent the entire 45 minutes anticipating a Lowestoft onslaught that never really materialised.
Wingate offered very little themselves going forward in the second period, but we always looked comfortable at the back and, even when the visitors started to rack up a few corners and free kicks, we still looked relatively secure.
The only heart-in-the-mouth moment came when our perennial nemesis Bradley Woods-Garness wriggled free of his marker and hit a powerful drive which Bobby Smith was equal to.
That point leaves us sitting 17th in the table out of 24 teams and without a win in six games. However, being realistic, if someone were to offer me a 17th-place finish in the final standings I would bite their hand off.
Next weekend we travel to Thamesmead, who are currently finding life in the Ryman Premier League difficult following their promotion last season. It is vital that we stick to of our adopted supporters’ motto and “Just Don’t Lose Baby”.
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