Wingate & Finchley progress to London Senior Cup quarter-finals

Wingate & Finchley earned a place in the quarter-finals of the London Senior Cup last night, triumphing 3-2 against Corinthian Casuals after striking times in the opening eight minutes.

The Blues won the competition in 2011, and they were in no mood to hang around on Tuesday evening, taking a giant stride towards the last eight with a devastating opening salvo and then surviving Corinthians’ comeback to set up a tie against Redbridge.

Daniel Nielsen’s hosts took the lead in just the third minute as a corner was cleared to Tommy Tejan-Sie, who curled a cross back into the box, and David Laird confidently controlled the ball and beat the helpless keeper.

Tejan-Sie then scored himself two minutes later, latching on to Marc Weatherstone’s through ball and finishing calmly.

Casuals keeper Danny Bracken denied Leon Smith at the end of a driving run, and then acrobatically tipped over a Weatherstone flick – but when Spencer McCall delivered the ensuing corner, he fumbled the ball into his net for a soft third goal.

To their credit, the shell-shocked Casuals fought back, and Blues keeper Cain Davies blocked an effort from Joel Thompson before tipping a low Jamie Byatt shot around the post.

However, he was unable to do anything about Byatt’s penalty kick as the visitors cut the deficit on the half-hour mark – and Corinthians finished the half in the ascendancy.

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Wingate’s Josh Kennett missed a golden chance after the interval, going through one on one but pulling the ball wide, and he was made to pay as Jason Turley headed home after a cross from the right.

Suddenly Wingate, had been lacklustre in parts, were only one goal ahead – but they finished the game strongly as Leon Smith released Dean Mason down the left wing, and a thundering drive struck the the bar.

McCall was next to find the woodwork, hitting the underside of the bar and seeing the ball come down onto the goalline but bounce out – and the home side held their lead until the final whistle.

That was a welcome victory for Wingate, who had suffered a 3-0 defeat away against leaders Hornchurch in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday.

The pitch was in a dreadful state unfit, and the home side’s long-ball style nullified Wingate’s technical players, who were unable to adapt to the conditions.

It took only seven minutes for the hosts to take the lead through Carl Rook, and George Purcell doubled the lead on the half-hour mark before Stefan Payne pounced on a loose ball to net the third goal in the second half.

Wingate midfielder Dan McGonigle said: “It was a difficult place to come, they have their style of play and are good at it.

“Unfortunately we didn’t start the game well enough and made some wrong decisions early on, which cost us.

“After that I didn’t feel there was a lot between the sides, but I suppose they were already two up and possibly sat back. We did come out well in the second half but conceded another poor goal.

“We do have some positives to take out of the game, with the good general performance that we showed in tough conditions.”