Wingate & Finchley enjoying best FA Cup run for 15 years

Wingate are enjoying their best FA Cup since 1999 after a 3-0 victory away at Southern Premier League high-fliers Hitchin Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

David Knight finished off a swift break with a stunning drive in the 11th minute, and Karl Oliyide and Nico Muir both hit the bar in a matter of seconds before the former set up the latter to double the lead in the 28th minute.

W&F had to withstand some pressure and keeper Bobby Smith was forced into action twice. But the clinical visitors made it 3-0 before half-time as Knight rounded the keeper and chipped the ball into the middle for Ahmet Rifat to head home – and Wingate will now host Havant & Waterlooville in the third qualifying round on October 11.

Wingate’s director of football David Norman said: “I am extremely pleased with the professional display that the team showed.

“Prior to the game I spoke to the players regarding their mental preparation, work-rate and resilience that they needed to show. Hitchin have had an extremely good start to the season but all credit to our players - they listened, followed instructions and executed the game plan perfectly.

“Both Danny [head coach Daniel Nielsen] and myself worked very hard on Thursday with the squad, looking at the shape of the team, both in and out of possession, and they all took onboard the information given.

“We have a very exciting squad of players which, with continued hard work and desire, will keep developing.

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“Over the last fortnight several clubs from a higher level have made enquiries about a number of our players. This encapsulates the hard work and desire to become the best they can as players.

“Both myself and Danny feel confident that players will ultimately progress and play at a higher level, however at this moment in time we feel they will remain Wingate players.”

Wingate & Finchley: Smith, Goodman, Street, Fisher (Sogbanmu 80), Weatherstone, Rifat, Oliyide (Marsh-Brown 48), McCluskey, Muir (Laney 70), Tejan-Sie, Knight.

Unused substitutes: Lake, Wright, Suddell, Metcalf.

Attendance: 261