Wingate and Finchley will face Grays Athletic twice in a week after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Mill Field in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy forced a replay. The Blues hit the post twice before Steve Wales gave them the lead, but David Fallah equalised before half time in a game in which clear-cut chances were at a premium.
The draw means Grays will have to travel to Summers Lane on Tuesday to determine which side will join the likes of Enfield Town and Dulwich Hamlet in the second round. Wingate came into this game off the back of a 4-0 win and 3-0 loss, so what side would turn up was anybody’s guess. But they started on the front foot again a Grays Athletic side with just two wins to their name in the Ryman Premier League.
Billy Healey headed Wales’ second minute corner on to the crossbar only to see it land at the feet of Sean Cronin – who planted his volley into precisely the same part of the crossbar as the striker. Wales himself had a great chance to open the scoring ten minutes in but, with both strikers open in the box, pulled his shot just wide from distance.
He made doubly sure the next time he found himself in a good position, however. Latching on to Ryan Seller’s deep cross in the 26th minute, the 34-year-old thumped a volley past Amadou Tangara into the roof of the net to put the Blues 1-0 up.
But when Shane Gore parried Lehureux Menga’s shot seven minutes later, Fallah was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net to draw the hosts level. And he almost handed the Gravelmen the lead within a minute of the restart, but Sellers was able to trap the ball on the line after the striker had rounded Shane Gore and trickled the ball towards goal.
Reece Beckles-Richards, Luke Ifil and Healey all called Tangara into action, but Grays’ goalkeeper was determined to impress his new manager after joining the side midweek. The Ivorian was also on hand to block Rob Laney’s shot with his chest as each team pressed for a winner. Both sides had claims for a penalty waved away by the referee and Wales saw a tap in ruled out for offside. And Gore had to be alert to palm away Richard Parquette’s 15 yard piledriver, but in truth each team found it difficult going.
Fans of the sides will be hoping for a much more open game on what will presumably be a cold, Tuesday night.
Report by Andy Gerlis