After extra time
Wingate and Finchley finally secured a place in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after a 4-2 AET win in their replay against Hendon. The Greens forced Tuesday’s rematch with an 87th minute equaliser at the weekend and, after Spencer McCall and Rob Laney had put the Blues 2-0 up by the break, Niko Muir completed his brace after precisely 87 minutes to take it to extra-time.
Ahmet Rifat handed the lead back to Wingate with a sublime first-half strike before McCall settled the home side’s nerves with a fourth in the dying seconds. The Blues will now travel to National League South outfit Hemel Hempstead in the next round.
Tom Lovelock was the busier of the two keepers in the opening stages but was left helpless against McCall’s 20th minute free-kick into the bottom corner – the opposite way to his opener in the reverse fixture on Saturday. Shane Gore was forced into a smart stop from a free-kick at the other end but Laney doubled the host’s lead with a close-range finish a minute from half-time.
The wind was taken out of Wingate’s sails almost immediately after the restart when Muir caused havoc around their area, eventually drilling into an empty net after a diving punch from Gore. The Blues struggled to contain the Hendon attacker and he hit the side netting before pulling the sides level from the six-yard box with just minutes left, taking the game to extra-time.
The momentum swung back in the home team’s favour and five minutes into the first half Rifat collected Marc Charles-Smith’s pass on the edge of the box and gloriously side-footed Keith Rowland’s men back into the lead. Hendon heaped on the pressure – even Lovelock was in Wingate’s half at points – but they remained vulnerable on the break.
Afolabi Obafemi saw a shot squirm through Lovelock’s legs but fall wide and – after a last-minute counter attack – Ben Pattie held up the ball long enough for McCall to fire his second goal under the goalkeeper and confirm Wingate’s passage into the next round.
The Blues travel to Hemel Hempstead for their Second Qualifying Round tie on September 16th where a win will see them go further than they were able to last season.
WingateTV: Ahmet Rifat post Hendon: HERE
Report by Andy Gerlis