After extra time
Wingate and Finchley’s FA Cup dream came to an end for another season after they suffered a 2-1 AET defeat at the hands of Hemel Hempstead. Despite taking an early lead, Wingate were unable to keep out the Conference South side who fought back and equalised on the hour before grabbing a winner with 10 to go in extra time.
The Blues got off to the best possible start after 5 minutes when Marc Charles-Smith cushioned the ball across to Reece Beckles-Richards who calmly slotted past the keeper. The goal seemed to kick the away side into life, and Hemel had a string of chances throughout the first period. First, ex-Wingate man James Kaloczi was unable to keep his shot down after confusion in the Wingate box and 15 minutes later Rowan Liburd forced Shane Gore into a super save with a powerful shot.
Despite Wingate’s slender lead going into the break, it seemed Hemel were the likelier to score first in the second half. Unfortunately for the Blues faithful, this rang true 5 minutes before the hour. Hemel won a free kick on the edge of the box and Jordan Parkes duly converted, smashing into the top right corner past Gore to equalise.
Substitute Afolabi Obafemi had arguably the best opportunity of the remaining normal time as he took down the ball and took the ball round a scrambling ‘keeper however took too long on the ball and his shot was deflected wide. Ben Pattie, who had replaced Marc Charles-Smith nearly grabbed what would’ve been a spectacular winner, attempting an audacious lob from 40 yards which Laurie Walker had to tip over.
Neither side were able to grab a regulation time winner which meant extra time, and the prospect of penalties looming. A golden chance fell for Obafemi just 5 minutes into extra time as he was set clean through on goal. He set himself to shoot however his strike fizzled wide. This miss proved costly as Hemel grabbed a winner with 10 minutes of extra time remaining. Alex Osborn collected the ball before dribbling through the Wingate defence and finished low past Gore to break Blues’ hearts.
Wingate will hope to bounce back from just their third defeat in any competition at home to Worthing on Saturday and can take plenty of positives from a spirited performance.
WingateTV: Shane Gore post Hemel Hempstead Town: HERE
Report by Jamie Grossman