FA Trophy: Sittingbourne 1 Wingate & Finchley 2
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Reece Beckles-Richards netted either side of half-time at Woodstock Park to ensure Wingate & Finchley’s place in the draw for the FA Trophy second qualifying round.
However, a 2-1 victory for the visitors had to be hard-earned following a never-say-die performance from Sittingbourne.
Within seconds of getting underway, Tim Monsheju took possession into his stride and broke into the box, but couldn’t connect with clout as the danger was gathered by Shea Pritchard.
With seven minutes on the clock, the north Londoners grabbed a deserved lead as Tommy Tejan-Sie’s left-sided cross was spilled by Pritchard, prior to Rob Laney and Brandon McKenna combining to find Beckles-Richards who placed the ball into the opposite corner.
A further 15 minutes on, Tom Loynes broke to the inside right but struck his shot wide from an angle inside 18 yards.
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Just touching the half-hour mark, Beckles-Richards’ central free-kick from just outside the box was parried to Pritchard’s right-hand side.
And with four minutes to go until the break, Dan Parkinson’s free-kick from 35 yards out took a wicked deflection off the Blues’ wall and looked destined for the top corner, yet Shane Gore was on hand to tip away.
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After a rampant second-half start by the hosts, a Sittingbourne equaliser arrived in the 57th minute as Gore initially stopped Nathan Elder’s close-range strike, but Parkinson latched onto the loose ball and found the net to give the Brickies a boost.
Samir Bihmoutine shimmied inside four minutes later, but hit a tame effort at Pritchard.
And Ola Williams played th eball inside to Chase O’Neill, whose first-time flick sent Beckles-Richards through to power over the crossbar.
The Finchley men, showing their resilience, regained the lead on 74 minutes, though, as O’Neill knocked the ball past Ben Fitchett on the left, before squaring to Beckles-Richards who found the top corner.
Nine minutes from time, it was almost three as O’Neill’s corner was headed down by Laney for Marc Charles-Smith to poke towards goal, only for Josh Dorling to clear off the line.
Five minutes from time, Chris Webber headed Beckles-Richards’ cross back into his own box which Charlie Cole latched onto and had his shot blocked by Fitchett. Charles-Smith, on the rebound, then saw his attempt evade the net as did any chance the minnows had, at the other end, of forcing a replay.
Wingate: Gore, Williams, Hernandez, Weatherstone, Cronin, Tejan-Sie, Laney, McKenna (O’Neill 62), Monsheju (Charles-Smith 62), Beckles-Richards, Bihmoutine (Cole 70).