Goodman believes Wingate & Finchley can finish the season with a winning run
Full-back Mark Goodman believes Wingate & Finchley can finish their Ryman League Premier Division season with a winning run as they go into the final month.
The right-back was named the man of the match in Monday’s 1-1 draw against local rivals Hendon, which followed Saturday’s goalless stalemate away at Lewes.
The Blues have only won one of their last nine games in all competitions and are battling to hold on to 10th spot, with 57 points on the board.
Ninth-placed Billericay Town are eight points above them, while there are five chasing teams lying within three points behind them.
Yet Wingate are on course to improve on last season’s 12th-place finish and their record points tally (67) with five games remaining – and Goodman feels they can finish the campaign with a bang after having the better of Monday’s clash with Hendon.
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“It’s going to come and I think when they come they’re just going to keep going and going and going, win after win after win,” he said. “We need to keep doing what we’re doing and try to be as solid as possible.
“I think we were very good in the final third [on Monday] and we were in that final third for quite a long time. It was just actually putting the final ball in, or the last chance or the last strike, that let us down a bit.”
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Wingate made the perfect start in Monday’s derby duel, with Billy Healey meeting Leon Fisher’s corner to put the hosts ahead inside the opening minute, netting his 34th goal of the season in the process.
Rob Laney’s overhead kick was then blocked by Dave Diedhiou, while Alfie Bartram and Karl Oliyide saw dangerous crosses cut out and Bartram fired just wide.
However, Hendon went close as Sam Flegg headed inches past the post from Sam Murphy’s cross, and the visitors then equalised in the 21st minute as Diedhiou powered the ball home from Flegg’s corner.
The Greens nearly took the lead as Brandon Adams forced a close-range save from Charlie Crowley, but Joe Foley and Goodman fired over at the other end and Oliyide headed at Hendon keeper Joe Wright, while Laney went close after being found by Fisher.
Wingate continued to create chances, yet Oliyide’s half-volley was blocked by Murphy at close range and substitute Jack Read put a powerful effort over before miscuing a shot from six yards.
Goodman was required to do some important defending to stop Hendon grabbing a late goal, first tracking Ben Pattie to stop the hosts from capitalising on a two on one situation and then making a last-ditch header to deny Adams at the far post.
But Wingate had two more opportunities in injury time, Read having a close-range effort blocked and Goodman sending his follow-up over the bar.
“We were pretty good going forward, we had a lot of chances,” said Goodman, who was pleased with his timely contributions inside his own penalty box.
“Fortunately it was me that was there – I’m sure it could have been anyone else on the day. With the first one, I could actually have stepped up and played him offside, but I then got back and won the two on one – and then there was a last-man clearance. But it’s just part of the job and luckily I got there for both of them so I’m happy with that.”
Wingate’s efforts were undermined by the latest in a string of injuries, with Bartram leaving the fray at half-time, and Goodman admitted: “It’s pretty frustrating. We haven’t got the biggest squad at the moment so I think the management team are getting annoyed as well. Every time someone goes down it’s like ‘not again’.
“It’s frustrating but we’ve got players that can come in and do a job. I think we’re more of a squad now. A few players have come in and are helping us out and it’s part and parcel of the game.”
Wingate start the final month of their campaign with a home game against second-placed East Thurrock on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and Goodman said: “We know exactly how they play – it’s more longer balls, they’re a very physical team.
“All we need to do is keep resilient at the back, stay nice and solid, try to create chances and put them away. I think we’re more than capable of beating them, even though they’re up in the play-off area.”