Hector’s a a legend as Wingate edge seven-goal thriller
- Credit: Archant
Ryman League Premier Division: Cray Wanderers 3 Wingate & Finchley 4
Hector Mackie snatched a last-gasp winner with his second goal of the night as Wingate triumphed in Tuesday’s bizarre and breathtaking relegation clash.
The Blues rode their luck in a seven-goal thriller, surrendering a 3-1 lead in the last six minutes before Mackie netted the decisive goal to clinch three priceless points.
Somehow the first half remained scoreless, although the better chances fell to Cray, with Jack Middleton – making only his second start for the Blues – denying Sam Long twice early on.
The goalkeeper also tipped over a header from Cray centre-back Mark Willy and a ferocious effort from Alex Stavrinou, while Jack Clark’s free-kick narrowly missed the post as Middleton scrambled across.
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Wingate struggled to retain possession and rarely looked like scoring before the break as Spencer Bellotti’s volley lacked direction and power, with Anthony Thomas also curling a shot wide.
But the visitors took the lead seven minutes into the second half when Bellotti and Ahmet Rifat combined to force the ball over the line after an untidy goalmouth scramble.
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Wingate doubled their advantage on the hour mark when the determined Mackie broke clear down the left flank, using the full width of the pitch, and crossed for Thomas to head home.
But Mackie was involved at the other end just two minutes later when he was adjudged to have fouled an opponent in the penalty area and Leigh Bremner slotted in the spot-kick.
Suddenly the floodgates were opening and Mackie was denied by Cray goalkeeper Andy Walker before Thomas made it 3-1 on 67 minutes, smashing in a free-kick from an unlikely angle wide on the left.
With the visitors’ defence mopping up a series of high crosses, it looked as if the game would peter out – but, with six minutes left, Middleton conceded another penalty and Paul Booth rifled the kick into the net.
And Cray drew level almost immediately as the Blues’ midfield and defence fell apart and James Fray was left with a simple tap-in from close range to make it 3-3 and seemingly earn a point.
It looked as if Wingate might capitulate – but instead they grabbed a winner with a minute remaining, Mackie latching onto Spencer McCall’s perfectly-weighted pass and slotting the ball through Walker’s legs.
Wingate & Finchley: Middleton, Nielsen, Marsh-Brown, Wetherstone, Obamwonyi, Christian, Mackie, Rifat, Bellotti (O’Sullivan 74), Thomas (McCall 85), Scarlett.
n Spencer Bellotti gave Wingate the lead twice at Canvey Island on Saturday, but they were eventually beaten 3-2.
Bellotti had a goal ruled out for offside before he netted his first of the game on 19 minutes, pouncing on a mistake from Ashley Dumas.
Bradley Woods-Garness levelled from a corner, but Bellotti restored the Blues’ advantage on the hour mark, holding off defender Richard Orlu to slot home.
James Hawes made it 2-2 10 minutes later, tapping in after Jay Curran had miscued his shot – and it was Curran who snatched the winner for the home side with a close-range finish six minutes from time.