Wingate & Finchley are through to the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy after a 2-0 victory over Grays Athletic. Goals from Billy Healey and Claudiu Vilcu secured the win, following a 1-1 draw in the first game.
Sean Cronin had the first chance of the replay match, forcing a smart save from Amadou Tangara in the Grays goal. But Wingate were not to be denied a minute later. Ryan Sellers set off on a run down the left before feeding Healey, who took the ball round the ‘keeper and slid it home to open the scoring.
Grays, who sit second bottom of the Ryman Premier Division, thought they had drawn level when Jamie Mascoll crossed for Luke Hornsley to head in at the back post, only to see the linesman flag for offside. And the away side looked to have a found a route back into the game when Hornsley was fouled in the box by Cronin. But Shane Gore saved Arron Wikcham’s resulting penalty to preserve the home side’s slender lead.
Wingate were unable to add to their one goal advantage before half-time, despite a host of opportunities. Reece Beckles-Richards twice came close, but the closest chance fell the way of Tommy Tejan-Sie. His bullet shot from the edge of the box crashed against the bar. After a dominant first 45 minutes from the home team, Grays came back into the game. Wikcham almost atoned for his penalty miss when he fired just wide after Wingate failed to clear a loose ball. Adeyinka Cole then curled one towards goal, but this time Gore was in place to gather the ball.
At the other end, Tommy Tejan-Sie’s free-kick was saved and Beckles-Richards could not divert the rebound home. Substitute Ben Pattie almost made an instant impact as he held the ball up inside the box, but Beckles-Richards failed to find a way past Tangara. Vilcu made the game safe with just over 10 minutes to go, after finding himself free in the penalty area. The centre-half’s powerful free header from a Wales corner doubled the home side's lead.
Gore capped off a fine performance by ensuring he kept his clean sheet in stoppage time. A strong header from Jordan Aghatise was bound for the top corner before the Wingate stopper tipped it away from goal. Wingate & Finchley will travel to Ware FC in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. Next up in the league is the long trip to face Bognor Regis Town on Saturday 5th November.
WingateTV: Ryan Sellers Post Grays Athletic: HERE
Report by Sam Jones