Wingate & Finchley move into top half after derby victory at Enfield Town
Wingate & Finchley flew into the top half of the table in the Ryman League Premier Division after a 3-0 derby win away against local rivals Enfield Town last night.
It was the Blues’ fourth league win in a row - with three clean sheets in the process – as they moved into 11th place.
Enfield might be the most out-of-form side in the league, but with three years having passed since the Blues last overturned their north London counterparts, a win was by no means a formality.
Wingate made only one change from the side that secured an injury-time win over East Thurrock United on Saturday, with Marc Weatherstone returning to the line-up after suspension, and the visitors started the match full of confidence, with high pressing and quick passing football on the slick surface.
Dean Mason hit the angle of post and bar with an early half chance, while Enfield goalkeeper Noel Imber had to be alert to save two low drives from Spencer McCall low to his right-hand side.
W&F were dominant, with the central midfield trio of Mark Henry, Tommy Tejan-Sie and McCall consistently winning the midfield battle, and the wingers Mason and Hector Morante were always threats out wide.
Wingate got the lead that their pressure deserved in the 27th minute as Morante broke down the left on one of his trademark tricky runs and was clipped and pushed inside the box. McCall scored the resulting penalty, sending Imber the wrong way.
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Enfield had five minutes of pressure but never truly tested Bobby Smith, with a few wayward crosses and one goalmouth scramble.
Moments before the break it looked like Wingate has scrambled the ball in themselves from a corner, but the linesman could not be certain that the ball had crossed the line before Joe Stevens had volleyed it away.
A slender half-time lead is so often overturned, but this was not to be the case as a professional visiting side started the second half just as they had finished the first.
In the 47th minute Henry smashed the ball home at close range following a corner, netting his second competitive goal for the club - and the third goal came just three minutes later.
McCall looked to play the ball out wide but instead spotted the central run of Ahmet Rifat, who was played through on goal behind a square Enfield back line and proceeded to nonchalantly lob the stranded Imber.
With Enfield now beaten, Wingate sat back and saw the rest of the half out without taking too many risks.
Tyler Campbell had Enfield’s best chance as he ran across the pitch from the left side and drilled a low effort, but it was aimed straight at Bobby Smith.
Wingate’s director of football David Norman said: “Both myself and Danny [head coach Daniel Nielsen] have been really pleased with the players’ application, desire and aspiration to improve themselves on the back of three league wins, and travelling to Enfield for a local derby is always a difficult task.
“This performance was for 90 minutes, whereas at the beginning of the season we were only playing for 45 minutes. No matter what position either side had been sitting in in the league, to put in a performance and come away with a 3-0 victory against Enfield shows the potential of this young team.
“Every game they seem to be growing with confidence and believing in themselves. They have now set a standard which we will all try extremely hard to maintain.”
Wingate & Finchley: B Smith, Williams, Street, Tejan-Sie (L Smith 81), Weatherstone, Aisien, Mason, McCall, Rifat, Henry, Morante (Kennett 75). Subs: Owen, Laird, Wright.