True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view of the victory at Billericay Town
- Credit: Archant
The Ham&High’s Wingate & Finchley blogger reflects on Saturday’s last-minute 3-2 victory away at Billericay Town, which leaves the Blues in the top four in the Ryman League Premier Division.
Having safely negotiated our midweek replay in the FA Cup against Ipswich Wanderers, winning 4-3 away, we returned to league action on Saturday and faced our stiffest challenge of the campaign so far.
We travelled over to Essex to face Billericay Town, who, as recently as two years ago, were plying their trade in the league above ours and had made a decent start to the season, sitting just outside the play-off places.
We arrived in Billericay minus midfielder Scott Shulton, who this week joined Conference South outfit Bishop Stortford.
Scott was one of previous manager Gary Meakin’s first signings and has played an important role at the club ever since, accumulating 36 appearances and finding the net on eight occasions.
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The game didn’t start well for The Blue Gods as we conceded in the fifth minute. Billericay skipper Richard Halle eluded his marker at a set piece and was on hand to nod the ball past the returning Bobby Smith to give our hosts an early lead.
Last season, such an early setback would probably have seen the game end in a comfortable victory for Billericay - but this term Wingate would appear to be a completely different animal.
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We nearly hit back immediately when a looping Rob Laney header was acrobatically cleared off the line by the Billericay full-back with the goalkeeper stranded.
We were soon level, however, when leading scorer David Knight converted from the spot following one of the more obvious fouls you will see in the penalty area.
The game was very open and both sides looked dangerous whenever they came forward.
We eventually took the lead for the first time in the game on the half-hour mark when Karl Oliyidi bamboozled everybody with his spaghetti legs before crossing for Tommy Tejan-Sie, who stole a march on his marker and slotted the ball home.
The second half was just as open, with a plethora of half chances being spurned and thwarted at both ends.
Former Barnet man Glen Poole eventually equalised for the home side with a smart finish from the edge of the area and, at this juncture, I thought that a draw would not only be a fair result but also a decent result from our perspective.
However, substitute Nico Muir had other ideas. In the 92nd minute some lovely link- up play saw the ball shifted back to Muir, who was lurking on the edge of the penalty area - and the former Northwood man hit the ball first time with the outside of his boot and curled a delightful effort past the goalkeeper and just inside the post.
So the unexpected Wingate juggernaut continues plowing on as we sit in fourth place. Its next stop is tomorrow, away at Dulwich Hamlet, who are one of the three sides above us currently in the league.
Follow me on Twitter @jmascis666