Havant & Waterlooville made it five wins in a row as they defeated struggling Wingate & Finchley at the Maurice Rebak Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday. The visitors scored early in each half and rarely looked threatened as they remained in third position in the Ryman Premier League.
The Hawks took the lead after just six minutes when Ben Swallow’s left-footed shot from outside the Wingate box took a huge deflection off Ahmet Rifat’s foot and bounced over Shane Gore, with the goalkeeper left stranded diving to his right side.
However, the hosts almost immediately drew level. Luke Ifil found Billy Healey with a through ball and the striker cut inside to fire towards the near post, but his effort was pushed around the post smartly by Ryan Young. Wingate’s best chance came on 19 minutes when Ifil fed Tommy Tejan-Sie inside the area and the playmaker played the ball across the box, but Healey was unable to get enough contact to turn the ball home and Havant cleared their lines.
George Barker had three chances before the half-hour mark but was unable to find the net with any of his close attempts. His first, after 22 minutes, saw him fire just over the bar from 25 yards out. A minute later, he cut in from the left side and rifled a shot towards goal, but Gore saved well with his feet. Finally, on 28 minutes, Havant’s number 11 whipped in a dangerous free kick from the left wing. The ball evaded everyone inside the area and looked to be heading for the top corner, but Gore – once again – clawed the winger’s attempt to safety.
Upon the conclusion of the George Barker Show, Theo Lewis tried to succeed where his teammate had failed but he also cleared the upright with his driven effort from the edge of the area. With seconds to go of the first half, Reece Beckles-Richards’ cross was cleared away from the toes of Healey, who was ready to pounce and equalise for Wingate.
The second half was a quieter affair in comparison. Rob Laney flicked Ryan Sellers’ 48th minute free kick on but Wingate skipper, Ahmet Rifat half-volleyed over from inside the area. The Blues were left to rue several missed chances as Matt Patterson cushioned home a cross from the left wing with his instep to double the Hawks’ lead on 50 minutes.
Another Sellers free kick, this time more central, almost resulted in a goal but Young excellently tipped his piledriver around the post. At the other end, Gore was required to push Jason Prior’s volley for a corner and Woodford headed a later corner just over.
Beckles-Richards nearly pulled a goal back for the hosts but his arrowing effort from the right side of the box, destined for the top corner, drew a top class save out of Young and Wingate were unable to halve the deficit from the resulting corner. Sellers twice tried to cut inside onto his left foot and curl home from outside the area but to no avail, as both effort flew wide of Young’s right hand post.
Time eventually ran out for Keith Rowland’s men, who were outclassed by an impressive Hawks side – and will be hoping to see several key men return from injury in the coming weeks. Next up is an FA Cup First Round Qualifying trip to Waltham Abbey, on Saturday afternoon.
WingateTV: Ahmet Rifat Post Havant & Waterlooville: HERE
Report by Nikhil Saglani