Déjà vu as Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Shane Gore replaces Bobby Smith again

Filling the well-worn boots of Bobby Smith doesn’t faze Shane Gore – it’s actually a case of déjà vu for Wingate & Finchley’s new No1.

The experienced Gore, who moved to the Maurice Rebak Stadium from Chesham this summer, has taken over from Smith as the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper.

It’s a familiar scenario for the 34-year-old, who began his six-year spell at Chesham alongside Smith before the latter joined Wingate and played a big part in their rise to Premier Division status in the Ryman League.

“I know Bobby well and it’s a little bit different this time, where he’s had family commitments and so on,” said Gore. “I think it was fairer on him and the club that they looked for someone.

“Bobby’s been here a long time, he’s very well respected and he’s won Player of the Year a couple of times. He’ll still be involved whenever he can.

“It’s funny that I’ve replaced him again! But If I can come in and do as well as he’s done for Wingate, I’ll be happy. I just hope I can bring a bit of my experience to the team and add to what they achieved last year.

“The opportunity was here, the club approached me and, although I was settled with Chesham – I’d been there for a long time – something just appealed to me.

Most Read

“I’d never actually played at Wingate before this season. Even with the amount of non-league games I’ve played, this was probably about the only ground I’d never been to.

“The pitch is really good and Gavin King, the goalkeeping coach, and the rest of the lads have made me feel really settled. I’ll always make sure I’m on top of things and I won’t take anything for granted.”

Gore began his career with the original Wimbledon – prior to their controversial relocation to Milton Keynes – and has since played for another 12 clubs, including Barnet and Luton Town.

The much-travelled goalkeeper has quickly made an impact on his new team, playing an important role as Wingate collected their first points of the season with a 1-0 win over neighbours Hendon on Saturday.

Gore produced one-on-one saves to foil ex-Blues forward Karl Oyilide, as well as Finbarr Robins and Dale Binns, and keep the scores level before a thumping free-kick from Steve Wales settled the contest.

“It’s pleasing to get your first win at a new club and keep a clean sheet on the same day,” added Gore. “I thought we played very well and it should have been more than 1-0.

“I was quite busy with a few saves and in the second half Hendon had a few long-range ones but in general we held our own.

“We had to show what we’ve got and, because we hadn’t won up to then, it was good for some of the young boys to experience that and come through – it’s character-building.

“Hopefully people like me and Walesy and some of the others coming in can just steady the ship and be a calm head in these situations.

“We definitely deserved the win. If we can just get the balance right with our attacking play and our defending, I think we’ll be in the better half of the league this year.”

Wingate, who came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against AFC Sudbury on Tuesday evening, have set up a fundraising page for left-back Tommy Cummings – the defender suffered a broken leg in last week’s game against Billericay and is facing a long spell out of action.

The club have set a target of £15,000 to help Cummings, who is self-employed and will be unable to work for some time. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/HelpTommyRecover