True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view of the draw against Ipswich Wanderers in the FA Cup

The Ham&High's Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler

The Ham&High's Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler - Credit: Archant

The Ham&High’s Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler reflects on Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home against Ipswich Wanderers in the FA Cup.

The magic of the FA Cup returned to Summers Lane on Saturday as Wingate & Finchley attempted once again to beat the hoodoo that seems to hang over our heads in this competition.

Since the club’s formation in the early 1990s, we have struggled severely to make our mark on the world’s oldest cup competition - quite a contrast to the exploits of Finchley FC, who once progressed as far as the third round proper in the 1952-53 season, triumphing 3-1 over Crystal Palace at Summers Lane along the way.

On paper the draw for the first qualifying round had been quite kind, handing us a home draw against Ipswich Wanderers, who ply their trade two levels below ourselves.

However, I was under no illusions how tough this tie was likely to be. Our head coach Daniel Nielsen and David Norman were obviously just as aware of the banana skin we were facing when they named a very strong starting XI.

In the opening 15 minutes, the visitors probably showed us a little bit too much respect and allowed us a lot of time on the ball, which can be potentially fatal with players like Tommy Tejan-Sie and Scott Shulton on the pitch.

But by hook or by crook Ipswich repelled our early forays deep into their territory and started to grow into the game to reveal that they are a more than capable outfit.

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We took the lead after half an hour when an almighty scramble occurred in the Ipswich six-yard box following a set piece, which eventually led to Carl McCluskey poking home his first goal for the club.

At this point I was hoping that the floodgates would open and we could comfortably see out rest of the afternoon, but the Wingate onslaught I prayed for never arrived.

Wanderers bagged their inevitable equaliser in the 53rd minute when we were caught on the break. Jack Metcalfe was able to parry the first effort but, unfortunately for the young custodian, there was a couple of Ipswich players on hand to slot home the rebound.

Suddenly Ipswich were in the ascendency and we were very grateful for the efforts of Metcalfe, who thwarted a couple of decent chances as the visitors sought to take an unlikely lead.

Fortunately we weathered this storm and retook the lead from the penalty spot courtesy of David Knight after Marc Weatherstone had been impeded in the box.

But we just couldn’t kill the game off and, in the end, the old adage of a one-goal lead being no lead at all rang true as the visitors seized on some hesitant defending to plunder another goal.

Wingate will consequently travel to face Ipswich in the reply on Wednesday night.