Wingate & Finchley 3 Sittingbourne 2: Late show sees Blues progress in Velocity Trophy

Wingate & Finchley manager Keith Rowland (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wingate & Finchley manager Keith Rowland (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Velocity Trophy third round: Wingate & Finchley 3 (Mavila 42, Beckles-Richards 86, Obafemi 89) Sittingbourne 2 (Coker 26, Cornwell 84p)

Wingate & Finchley’s ‘never say die’ attitude came up trumps yet again on Tuesday night, with a 3-2 win over Sittingbourne FC in the Bostik League Cup. Goals from Nathan Mavila, Reece Beckles-Richards and Afolabi Obafemi were just about enough to overcome a resilient and hard-working side from Kent.

Both sides had early efforts from range as Beckles-Richards’ shot on three minutes was saved and Miles Cornwell’s effort for the visitors flew well wide. However, it was the visitors themselves who took the lead on 26 minutes. A free-kick from the right side was floated in and John Coker’s determination saw him rise and loop the ball over Luke Sheldrick to kickstart a potential upset.

Marc Charles-Smith and Quinton Monville both failed to hit the target with shots from inside the area, although the latter’s may have got a touch off the goalkeeper on its way wide; though a goal kick was given. Sittingbourne had a huge chance to double their lead on 42 minutes but Cornwell failed to find the back of the net from six yards out when presented with an open goal. And, just four minutes later, the hosts were on hand to punish the miss. A free-kick from the edge of the box saw Mavila and Obafemi line up and the former drilled the ball powerful into the far corner, despite a touch from the keeper, and the sides went it level at the break.

On 57 minutes, the visitors found the back of the net again but Cornwell’s effort was ruled out for offside by the linesman. A quiet spell followed, with neither side able to play an incisive final pass to break open their opposition but the game livened up with 20 minutes to go. Sheldrick made an important save from Cornwell before Rob Laney’s effort from the edge of the area could only hit the stanchion behind the goal. Cornwell volleyed wide again on 83 minutes before the visitors were awarded a penalty a minute later. This time, Cornwell stepped up and dispatched; sending the away fans into bedlam.

However, Wingate weren’t going to exit the cup without a fight. Just three minutes later, Sean Cronin’s close control in the area gave him the chance to lay the ball off to Beckles-Richards, who hammered home from just inside the area to level again.

Keith Rowland’s side’s search for a winner did not last long as Beckles-Richards turned provider. His cross from the right wing was emphatically volleyed home by Obafemi; his second late goal in a week. The Blues held on and find themselves in the hat for the Quarter Finals of the Bostik League Cup.

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Wingate: Sheldrick, Williams, Mavila, Eales, Cronin, Rifat, Ifil, Monville (Pattie 87), Charles-Smith (Lainey 63), Beckles-Richards, Obafemi.

Subs: Dickson, Ebelebe, Alfano.

Sittingbourne: Brooks, Webber, Kisitu, Coker (Allen 54), Gorham, Guthrie, Smith (Phillip 69), Okimeji, Dawodu, Cornwell, Loynes.

Subs: Ball, Allan, Usman.