Summer signing Brown settling in well among familiar faces at Wingate & Finchley

Wingate & Finchley midfielder Daniel Brown. Pic: Martin Addison

Wingate & Finchley midfielder Daniel Brown. Pic: Martin Addison - Credit: Archant

Summer signing Daniel Brown is enjoying life at Wingate & Finchley – and he says having some of his former Maidenhead colleagues at the club has helped him settle in.

Brown joined the Blues from Wealdstone in the close season, linking up with manager Simon Lane – who was the first-team coach during his time at Maidenhead – along with Leon Solomon and Martel Powell.

The midfielder made his fifth appearance of the season as Wingate responded to their first back-to-back defeats of the campaign to triumph 2-0 at Merstham in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday - and he is happy with his form so far.

“From the get-go the lads have been good with me,” he said. “Slowly but surely I’m finding myself and adapting to the way the team plays. It’s a very unique way, a very unique style but it’s very good and I’m enjoying my football.

“My footballing principles are very similar to Laney [Simon Lane] and Nielsy’s [Daniel Nielsen’s] – they like to play football, which is what I like to do – so it’s just a case of me trying to accommodate myself in the team.

“But knowing some of the lads as I did before definitely helps. You know the way they play, you know what foot they use, their weaknesses, their strengths - it definitely helps.”

Wingate’s trip to Merstham was their sixth game in 15 days but they faced a team who had only won one of their previous 10 matches – and they came away with all three points.

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Blues goalkeeper Jack Metcalfe had to make the first save from Reece Hall, but the visitors took the lead at the other end a minute later when Ola Sogbanmu controlled Tommy Tejan-Sie’s free kick on his chest and placed a half-volley past Yannick Makiese.

Mark Goodman nearly made it 2-0 moments later as his floated cross hit the crossbar and, while both teams had chances either side of the break, Lee Barney scored his first league goal of the season, and Karl Oliyide and Barney could have added to Wingate’s total before the end.

“I thought we did very well,” said Brown. “In the first half we got the ball down, we played football, we dictated the game.

“In the second half they made it very difficult for us and we weathered the storm and when we needed to we showed our bits of quality.

“We got the second goal, which gave us a bit of a cushion, and I think all-round it’s almost a perfect team performance.”

Man of the match Ahmet Rifat, who played in the Blues’ defence, added: “We went back to a formation [from 4-3-3] that I think, as players, we’re a little bit more comfortable with.

“The tempo was good from the start. We knew when we lost against Canvey Island [last Tuesday] that we needed to get a win at all costs, and we put in a good performance.

“All the back four and the keeper were great. We knew Merstham were going to have a spell - every team has a spell - but you’ve got to dig in and make the right decisions, clear your lines and not make silly mistakes and put yourself under pressure.

“I think we could have maybe had one or two more goals and it probably would have reflected the game a bit better but 2-0, there are no complaints from me.”

Wingate are not in action until Tuesday now, giving them a welcome 10-day break before they host Hampton & Richmond, having won the reverse fixture 2-1 in August.

“It’s a tough game, we’ve played them already this season and it wasn’t easy,” said Rifat. “They beat Merstham 6-1 last week and I think they’ll be wanting to get their own back on us. But the way we know we can play, I don’t fear any team in this league to be honest.”