True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view of the victory over Bognor Regis Town
- Credit: Archant
The Ham&High’s Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler looks back on Saturday’s 3-0 home win over in-form Bognor Regis Town in the Ryman League Premier Division.
Despite our recent unbeaten run, which stood at an impressive five games before Saturday’s game, not many people would have given us a chance of overturning Bognor Regis Town.
Our visitors sat proudly at the top of the Ryman Premier League form table, having claimed six wins in their previous six games, seemingly scoring for fun.
This, coupled with their particularly miserly defensive line, gave the Blue Gods a mammoth task as we attempted to extend our own recent good form.
Indeed, when chatting to some of the regular supporters prior to the game, it was the general consensus that a draw would be considered a more than acceptable result.
Following our fabulous win in midweek over Hitchin Town in the FA Trophy, the line-up contained a few changes.
In came regular first-choice keeper Bobby Smith, who had been more than sufficiently replaced by his young understudy Cain Davies in midweek.
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Kieran Street returned to the starting line up for the first time since the middle of last season, and Leon Smith replaced David Laird up front, alongside Monday night’s goalscoring hero Ahmet Rifat.
We started the game very well, more than equaling our more illustrious visitors, and a sustained period of pressure saw the home side force a succession of corners.
One of these set pieces was only partially headed away by the Bognor defense to the lurking Dean Mason, who looked like he had taken too many touches as two Bognor defenders converged on his position.
However, he somehow squeezed his shot past them and his effort deflected in off the post with the keeper stranded.
Although Bognor had been quite potent in an attacking sense in their previous few matches, they seemed to lack a real cutting edge against us, and Bobby Smith in the Wingate goal was largely untroubled - as indeed was his opposite number.
The second half was more of the same but, remembering that we recently went into the interval one goal up against Lewes and yet contrived to lose quite comfortably, we weren’t counting our chickens.
The game was decided in a bizarre two minutes of madness halfway through the second half. Firstly an innocent-looking backpass was tapped back to the keeper, who took a big swing at the ball under absolutely no pressure at all and proceeded slice it into his own net.
I was still recovering from nearly busting a rib laughing when Bognor fouled up again.
Almost straight from the restart the ball found itself into the safe hands of Bobby Smith and he sent his rather hefty goal kick straight down the middle of the park. Again, under no pressure, a visiting central defender attempted to nod the ball back to his keeper – but the ball looped over him and into the back of the net.
It was a once in a blue moon incident which left all 142 people in the ground quite stunned at what they had just witnessed.
The Blue Gods saw out the rest of the game in relative ease - helped by a Bognor midfielder receiving a straight red card following a two-footed lunge on Mason.
This unlikely of victories moves us into real nosebleed territory - 14th place. By our standards, that’s as good as being top of the league!
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