Wingate & Finchley fans were treated to a goal of the highest quality in an otherwise drab affair at home to Burgess Hill Town. The visitors started off as the much stronger side, forcing the Wingate defence deeper and deeper into their own half and the pressure paid off after just eight minutes. A speculative shot from outside the area was uncharacteristically spilled by Shane Gore into the path of Dan Pearse, who’d have had to try very hard to miss from less than six yards out - putting the visitors ahead.
Minutes later, Rob Laney nearly equalised for Wingate but his stooping header from just inside the area fell comfortably outside of Max Huxter’s left-hand post. However, Burgess were not resting on their laurels as they sought a second goal - and it nearly arrived on 25 minutes. Jack Brivio ran into the right hand corner of the Wingate penalty area and unleashed an effort across goal - but if fizzed inches wide of Gore’s left-hand post.
On 33 minutes, Burgess were punished for not taking their chances. Tommy Tejan-Sie was fouled on the edge of the area and Steve Wales stepped up to score his second free-kick of the season, an effort Huxter will have been disappointed not to keep out diving down to his left side.
The second half began with the highlight of the game - and arguably the best goal you’ll see in January. Ben Pattie collected the ball outside the area, ran towards the edge of the box and dinked an effort across goal, over Huxter and into the back of the net from 20 yards out - sending the few Wingate fans into jubilation. Eric Cantona would have been proud.
On 68 minutes, Huxter did well to parry a Wales free-kick away from arrowing into the top corner whilst Tanasheh Abrahams fired wide from inside the area when running through on goal just 10 minutes later.
Huxter, involved for the umpteenth time, saved well from a Claudiu Vilcu header before Abrahams nearly replicated his stunner against Staines Town, this time firing just over the crossbar. Shane Gore redeemed his early error with an outstanding save low to his right side when Billy Medlock took aim from 25 yards out, whilst Afalabi Obafemi nearly opened his Wingate account with a goal on the spin, but Huxter was yet again a brick wall.
Huxter’s final involvement was to charge up for an attacking corner, but it was to no avail and Wingate were able to hold on for a well-fought victory in a largely scrappy game. Pattie’s goal will live long in the memory at Summers Lane.
WingateTV: Ben Pattie and Jordan Gibbons Post Burgess Hill Town: HERE
Report by Nikhil Saglani