Smith frustrated with Wingate & Finchley’s home defeat to Merstham

Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Bobby Smith. Pic: Martin Addison

Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Bobby Smith. Pic: Martin Addison - Credit: Archant

Goalkeeper Bobby Smith felt Wingate & Finchley were punished for complacency and “criminal” sloppiness as they threw away an early lead and suffered a 3-1 home defeat in their mid-table clash with Merstham in the Ryman League Premier Division.

The Blues went into the game on the back of a three-match winning streak and they went ahead in the seventh minute as Antone Douglas flicked Tommy Tejan-Sie’s cross into his own net.

But Charlie Penny quickly scored a brace at the other end to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after 15 minutes – and he completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot moments after the break, while Wingate captain Marc Weatherstone was sent off late on, the referee deciding he had raised his arm against Ellis Brown.

It leaves Wingate nine points outside the play-off spots in 11th place, while Merstham are now one place and two points behind them.

“We came out and scored an early goal, which we thought we could kick on from – but we rested on our laurels and allowed them to get back into the game,” said Smith.

“The equaliser was a soft goal. One ball beat the lot of us, which was poor from our point of view, and for the second goal he managed to get across Weathers and sneak it in. I don’t think we ever really recovered from it. We tried in fits and starts but it didn’t really happen.

“The conditions probably did play a part, although it shouldn’t be the case as it’s the same for both sides, and we didn’t do the basics right.

Most Read

“The times we gave the ball away – passing 10 yards and holding on to the ball too long and getting caught on it – was criminal and ultimately we paid for that.”

Wingate are now in the middle of a nine-day break ahead of Monday’s League Cup semi-final away against Kingstonian.

“It’s always nice to be in a cup,” said Smith. “It’s a tough game, a semi-final but it’s always a tough game against Kingstonian, whether it’s the league or whatever - it’s always a tough place to go.

“We’ve got nine days off now to get some rest, train hard and work on the things that we need to do better and get back to basics and doing what we do best. Hopefully we can go there and get ourselves in the final.”