Wingate & Finchley progressed to the First Round of the FA Trophy with an entertaining 4-2 win away at Evo-Stik Premier side, Slough Town; equalling the club record run in the competition. Wingate began the game brighter than their hosts and were rewarded with an early goal, after just four minutes. Steve Wales played an inch-perfect ball over the top for Rob Laney, who found space behind the defence and nodded the ball over the onrushing Mark Scott for 1-0.
Wales nearly turned scorer two minutes later but his volley from the edge of the area, with his weak foot, sailed wide. Four minutes after that, Wales’ corner was headed onto the roof of the net by Ahmet Rifat – the Blues were asserting their dominance at a tough away ground. Reece Beckles-Richards fires high and wide from inside the area on 15 minutes before Luke Ifil’s low shot was gathered well by Scott a minute later.
However, on 21 minutes, Wingate had doubled their lead. A through ball from Laney found Beckles-Richards, who composed himself, beat his man and fired across goal – much to the dismay of the home fans – for his ninth goal in nine games. But the second goal was a wake up call for Neil Baker and Jon Underwood’s men. Shane Gore had to produce a save out of the top drawer to prevent a Lewis Putman free-kick from finding the top right corner just two minutes after Beckles-Richards’ goal.
However, just after the half hour mark, the hosts had a foothold. Gore’s punch from a free-kick fell to Lee Togwell on the edge of the area – and he struck home from just inside the box to pull a goal back. And then Slough began to really turn the screw. Their next free-kick beat Gore, but was stopped by the outside of his left-hand post before a melee at the end of the half saw the referee dish out several cards; with less than a month to go until Christmas.
The Blues gathered their heads at half-time and rode another wave of corners before Beckles-Richards broke, crossed into the area and Ben Pattie cushioned a volley across goal and into the bottom corner to make it 3-1 to Wingate. The rest of the second half was a largely quiet affair, with Slough trying to find holes in a solid Wingate defence and, on the occasions that they did, being met by a stubborn Gore.
However, in the 88th minute, Gore’s save from a Nathan Webb shot was tapped home by Gurkan Gokmen and the Rebels had a lifeline at 3-2, with two minutes plus stoppage time to go. But Keith Rowland’s men had other ideas. Beckles-Richards switched the play to Wales, whose cross towards the far post was collected by Rifat. He stopped the ball dead, cut inside his man and finished into the far corner to make it 4-2 – and put Rowland’s men into the hat for Monday’s First Round draw, where National League teams now enter the fray.
WingateTV: Rowland, Rifat and Laney post Slough Town: HERE
Report by Nikhil Saglani