True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view on events at Summer Lane
Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler discusses the club’s transfer activity, their recent form and Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Thamesmead Town.
Thanks to the rather sodden weather we have experienced across the UK over the last few weeks, there have been many fixtures across non-league football that have been postponed due to water logged pitches.
Even Wingate & Finchley’s infamous drainage fell foul of the weather on two occasions – an occurrence which is so rare many of our more long-standing fans were struggling to recall this happening in previous years.
There have been a few comings and goings since I last had the opportunity to pen this blog.
Former Barnet winger Danny Hart has joined us after his recent sabbatical from football and, although his appearances in the famous blue shit may have been curtailed by his lack of match fitness, his quality has shone through when he has made his brief appearances from the bench.
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Meanwhile, winger Lewis Jones has been out injured for so long that he feels like a new signing as he returns to the side for the first time since October 2012.
Lewis was part of the very successful promotion-winning side of the 2010/11 season and is a firm fans’ favourite at Summers Lane.
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The story surrounding Adam Bolle’s arrival from Spartan South Midlands Premier Division outfit Hoddeston Town is quite a nice heart-warming one.
Adam’s dad also played for Wingate & Finchley back in the club’s early years, following the merger - indeed Adam was a mascot for a game at Summers Lane as a wide-eyed youngster some time in the mid-nineties.
There is a photograph currently doing the rounds of Adam leading the Blue Gods of that era out of the tunnel for a game.
A couple of the older lads that still attend the games recall Adam’s dad as a player and describe Adam as the proverbial chip of the old block.
Other new signings include former Carshalton and Borehamwood striker Ola Sogbanmu - who netted a brace on his debut and has since been utilised very effectively as a holding midfielder - as well as central midfielder Jack Read, right- back Mark Jamison and former Enfield Town midfielder Anton Olondo.
Others have moved on – notably Leon Smith, who has made the short trip to sign for our Ryman League rivals Hendon.
Leon has been the club’s leading scorer for the previous four seasons. But this season, despite netting 10 goals, he has struggled to maintain a place in the starting XI and by mutual consent it was agreed Leon should try and seek first-team football elsewhere.
It may sound like a standard thing to say but everyone at Summers Lane wishes Leon all the best in his future career. You don’t score over a 100 goals for a club without winning the hearts of the fans - not at any level.
Meanwhile, Jesse Parsons is dual registered at Essex Senior League side Takeley, as is Joe Sharpe, while John Christian is currently playing for Southern League Division One side Northwood under our previous manager Gary Meakin.
Centre-back Farai Hallam is on loan at Chalfont St Peter - also in the Southern League Division One - and finally Marcus Milner has signed for Ryman Division One South outfit Crawley Down Gatwick.
We have been on a wretched run of form lately - a complete contrast to a couple of months ago when we only lost one game in 11 – and that has sent us plummeting down the table like a stone.
Before Saturday’s game against fellow strugglers Thamesmead Town, we were hovering a mere two points above the relegation zone.
Recently the team had seemed drained of confidence, so it was quite a pleasant surprise on Saturday when man of the match Tommy Tejan-Sie robbed the visiting right-back before cutting inside and beating the keeper from an acute angle to give us the lead.
Unfortunately Thamesmead restored parity on the 20-minute mark when a speculative diagonal ball caught left-back Paul Wright out of position, and Tommy Whitnell made the most of the space given to him to slot the ball calmly past Bobby Smith on the volley.
At this point I have to admit I fully expected our heads to drop but, spurred on by captain Marc Weatherstone, the Blues battled hard to grind out a vital victory.
With Ola Sogbanmu providing some much-needed muscle in the middle of the park, the creative midfield duo of Tejan-Sie and Spencer McCall were unshackled and we managed to control larger portions of the game than normal.
We scored two second-half goals while a hurricane rattled around Summers Lane. Tejan-Sie appeared to beat half the Thamesmead side before crossing the ball for Adam Bolle to nod home, and this was closely followed by Ahmet Rifat heading home a delicious cross from Ola Williams.
That was enough to secure a win that leaves us five points above the drop zone. Next up at Summers Lane (weather permitting) is tomorrow’s game against Redbridge in the London Senior Cup.