Wingate & Finchley boss: Home defeat feels unimportant after Tommy Cummings’ injury

Manager Keith Rowland says Wingate & Finchley’s home defeat against 10-man Billericay Town last night feels unimportant after left-back Tommy Cummings suffered a horrific injury.

The youngster was taken to hospital in an ambulance after a challenge by Kreshnic Krasniqi, who was sent off, at the end of the first half.

Tommy Smith had just equalised for Wingate but the Blues were unable to make their numerical advantage count. And, having lost 3-0 at Tonbridge Angels in their opening fixture on Saturday, the Blues conceded a decisive 83rd-minute goal and went down 2-1 at the Maurice Rebak Stadium.

Rowland was more concerned about the wellbeing of his player, though: “Anyone who was at the ground, we all knew it was a broken leg,” he told Ham&High Sport.

“It’s a hard one to take because we’ve all got children of our own - I’ve got two boys, and his mum and dad were on the pitch with him straight away.

“We’re more concerned about the boy himself, everything else comes after that. The result itself, it overshadows it because sometimes you think there’s more to life.

“We’re a part-time football club, we try to look after the boys as best we can. We don’t want to endanger their welfare.

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“We’re bitterly disappointed to lose him. He’s a great kid, he’s hardly missed any pre-season at all and for me we’ve lost a really good kid who’s a really good part of the team.

“We all wish him luck. We’re keeping our ears peeled and waiting for the best-case scenario to come out of it. But with these kind of injuries, I’ve only seen it once or twice before in my career as a player and a manager - these kind of injuries don’t come about that often. We’ve got to focus on the boy and we’ve got to get him through it day by day really.

“When you’re that age – or any age – and you get that type of injury, it does make you wonder why we all do it sometimes. When you’re at our level and it’s part-time, nine times out of 10 we do it because we love it.”

Rowland must now lift his players ahead of Saturday’s derby at home against local rivals Hendon, who signed midfielder Karl Oliyide from Wingate during the summer.

“It’s a little bit different, it’s a derby game,” said Rowland. “For us, because of the last two results, we feel we need to get some points on the board, regardless of who it’s against.

“After the second half against Tonbridge and the 90 minutes against Billericay, we feel like we deserved some points out of it.

“Young Karl, like one or two other ones when I came into the club, I think they needed a new challenge. I was looking at a different way and I think so was the boy, so it probably suited both parties that he moved on.

“Some of our players have played with him. But if I was to go through my squad from Tuesday, including Tommy, we’ve transformed it.

“I’ve got two new boys to the side of the pitch, two new centre-halves, a new full-back, a new goalkeeper, a new central midfielder and a new forward alongside [Rob] Laney.

“There’s been a lot of changes at the club over the summer so I’ve got to get them going as quick as I can.”