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True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view of the opening-day defeat against Leiston

11:56 11 August 2014

The Ham&High

The Ham&High's Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler

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The Ham&High’s Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler discusses the summer’s new arrivals and Saturday’s unfortunate 4-3 home defeat against Leiston.

It has been an eventful few weeks at Summers Lane since I last penned my last piece in May.

The painful relegation we suffered on the final day of last season was rescinded only a few weeks later, when the unfortunate demise of Worksop Town forced a reshuffle throughout the non-league pyramid, which consequently handed us our Ryman Premier League status back.

Our head coach Danny Nielsen is entering only his second full season in management as he attempts to build on the foundations he established last season by running his eye over a total of 39 players throughout pre-season and making a few signings.

Our new additons arrive in the shape of attacking options David Knight, Rob Laney and Nico Muir, who were previously were with Thurrock, Hillingdon Borough and Northwood respectively - as well as Karl Oliyide, who is a tricky winger, also from Northwood.

Left-back Royanne Marsh-Brown returns to the club following a spell at Marlow Town, and other defenders who have arrived at Summers Lane are James Kaloczi - on loan from St Albans City - plus Marcus Rose from Aveley and Stuart Lake from Basingstoke.

We have looked more than useful as an attacking force in pre-season, at times scoring for fun.

However, we have looked a little frail defensively, and our 7-1 victory over Codicote was followed by an 8-3 to St Albans City, showing the two sides of the coin at Wingate.

Our opening game of the season, at home against Leiston on Saturday, highlighted our strengths and weaknesses again.

We started brightly, looking much the better side, and soon found ourselves one goal to the good when a marauding run and cross from right-back Mark Goodman was nodded home by Laney for his debut goal as a Blue God.

We should have been two goals clear only a few minutes later when the ever-impressive Scott Shulton fed Knight - but his effort was saved by the legs of the Leiston keeper.

W&F were then hit with a suckerpunch when a high ball was misjudged by Kieron Street, leaving Leiston striker Cliff Akurang in the clear - and he nodded the ball to his fellow striker, who smashed the ball past Bobby Smith to equalise.

The second half saw Leiston imposing themselves more on the game, but it was The Blue Gods who grabbed the lead when Shulton turned his man with a beautiful bit of skill before hitting the back of the net with an exquisite finish.

Our 2-1 lead lasted about 60 seconds though, and we then entered a crazy period of play where Wingate did all the pressing, managing to hit the woodwork on two occasions as well as have a fairly obvious penalty decision turned down.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Leiston managed to get out of their half twice and scored on both occasions to go 4-2 up.

Knight did grab a consolation in the dying seconds, but the referee’s whistle signaled the end to a day which promised so much but ended up delivering very little.

Our next game is tomorrow (Tuesday), away at Hampton & Richmond Borough, which has not been a happy hunting ground for us in the last couple of years. However, this team can score against anybody at this level so you never know…

Follow me on Twitter @jmascis666

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