FA Cup First Qualifying Round: Wingate and Finchley 1 - Didcot Town 2

Wingate and Finchley were knocked out of the FA Cup on Saturday after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Didc

Wingate and Finchley were knocked out of the FA Cup on Saturday after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Didcot Town. Photo: Liam Coleman - Credit: Liam Coleman

Wingate and Finchley failed at the first hurdle in this year’s FA Cup after they lost 2-1 to Didcot Town.

Wingate and Finchley were knocked out of the FA Cup after suffering a 2-1 defeat by underdogs Didcot thanks to goals from Brett Gardner and Callum McNish.

The visitors had only secured their place in the first qualifying round on Tuesday night after a 1-0 victory against Aylesbury in a replay.

Didcot fans will have started the day reminiscing about fond memories from three years ago when they nearly pulled off a giant-killing of their own when they lost 3-0 to Exeter City in the first round proper.

Wingate ply their trade a league above Didcot and as most fans would have expected they started the match on top.

The first chance of the game fell to Recce Beckles-Richards after 10 minutes who fired narrowly wide when the ball ricocheted kindly to him in the Didcot area.

Brett Gardner was the hero on Tuesday night as his strike set up the tie with Wingate and Finchley and he got himself on the score-sheet again after 25 minutes.

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A clever cutting ball from Callum McNish found Aaron Woodley who unselfishly played in Gardner, and the young winger slotted past Shane Gore to give the underdogs the lead.

Eight minutes into the second half the Blues Lewis Putman danced his way past two defenders with a nutmeg and a mazy run, and forced a great save from Leigh Bedwell in the Railwaymen goal.

Putman came close again moments later when his whipped free-kick on an angle whistled past the far post.

Just past the hour mark Didcott doubled their lead after capitalising on a scuffed pass from Chase O’Neill in the middle of the park, which lead to a breakaway from the visitors and the ball was pulled back for Callum McNish who was given a tap in he couldn’t miss.

A six-grand fee was on the line for the winners and with just over 15 minutes left a great last ditch tackle from man of the match Luke Carnell – stopped Marc Charles Smith from grabbing one back for The Blues, as the forward jinked his way into the box but took one touch too many.

The Blues came close again late on as Rob Laney rose above the Didcot centre-half and met Marc Weatherstone’s cross and his header was only a whisker away.

With less than 10 minutes on the clock Wingate and Finchley got a free-kick in a good position but Chase tried to roll the ball under the wall and his shot didn’t even look like it had enough on it to reach the goal.

The Blues were given the chance to set up a grandstand finish when a hand ball in the six yard box gave them a penalty, and captain Sean Cronin was never going to miss as thumped it home straight down the middle.

More drama unfolded in stoppage time as Didcot goalscorer Callum McNish was sent off for a second yellow card after a kerfuffle between both sets of players.

It wasn’t to be for Wingate and Finchley though, and Didcot will now eagerly await the next round draw as they are only three wins away from setting up a tie against the big boys.

Wingate and Finchley: Gore, Ilfil, Williams, Weatherstone, Cronin, O’Neill, Putman, Laney (Manu 78), Charles-Smith, Beckles-Richards, Tejan-Sie.

Subs not used: Monsheju, Ebelebe, Eales, Sharpe.

Didcot Town: Bedwell, Barder, McNeill, Hayden, Carnell, Learoyd, Gardner (Woodley 65), McNish, Woodley (Humphries 82), Williams, M.Williams.

Subs not used: Alexis, Thomas, Young, Isaac, Crowther.

Attendance: 118