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By Simon Swingler
Monday, December 2, 2013
Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler takes stock of the Blues’ campaign following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Hornchurch.
As unambitious as this may seem, at the start of the season I was more than happy to finish the season in 20th place - one above the relegation zone - although I did and still do believe the current squad of players that Danny Nielsen and Dave Norman have assembled are capable of securing a much higher position than this.
A couple of weeks ago we managed to hit the heady heights of 12th place in the table, which is literally nose-bleed territory for a club of our stature in my opinion. However, back-to-back reversals away at Margate and Hornchurch – the latter a 3-0 defeat on Saturday - have seen us plummet down to 16th.
Most importantly, we are still nine points above the relegation zone. When you consider that last term we were never more than a couple of points above the dreaded drop zone, we are virtually in cigar territory right now!
So far this season we have used a total of 33 players in all competitions, which may sound like quite a high number - but when you consider that last season we used 59 you can perhaps appreciate how much more stable and consistent the club is compared with a year ago.
Additionally, the same 10 outfield players have been named for three games in a row, the only exception being the change between the sticks due to a suspension for Bobby Smith.
One area that does lack a little cohesion, in my humble opinion, is the fact that we haven’t yet located a partner to accompany our intrepid captain Marc Weatherstone in the centre of defence.
Many players have been trialed alongside Weathers this season - Frankie Webb, Jesse Parsons, Farai Hallam, Ahmet Rifat, Jasper Owen and Bobby Aisien - with varying degrees of success.
But of course this minor gripe doesn’t alter my opinion regarding the direction the club is moving in under the extremely competent stewardship of our young manager. I couldn’t think of another manager I’d rather have in charge than Mr Wingate himself.
Our next game is on Tuesday December 3 at Summers Lane against Corinthian Casuals in the London Senior Cup.
Of course, this is a competition which holds good memories for Wingate & Finchley fans, and the legend of the 2010-11 squad who won the cup on a famous night at Imber Court is still often regaled in the bar.
Our opponents, who play in a distinctive pink strip, currently ply their trade in the league below ours so The Blue Gods will probably go into the tie as favourites – but this is a competition where players can and often are rested, so anything could happen.
It should be a good game, so if you are at a loose end on Tuesday night please come down to Summers Lane and see what you think.
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