Wingate & Finchley secured a spot in Monday’s Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round draw with a convincing 5-0 win away at Waltham Abbey.
The visitors dominated the game from start to finish, in the most convincing performances the Blues’ fans have seen in a long time. The first chance of the game came within 10 seconds of the whistle, as Ryan Sellers found Rob Laney from the kick-off, but the striker could not get enough power on his shot and Anthony Page gathered. Two minutes later, Steve Wales fired over the bar after excellent work down the left by Reece Beckles-Richards. Wales’ second chance came after five minutes but he fired over once again; this time Ola Williams was the provider.
Wingate found the back of the net on 13 minutes but Billy Healey’s header was ruled out for offside from a Beckles-Richards cross after a bursting run from Ryan Sellers. However, the travelling support only had to wait two more minutes to see the opener. A low corner missed everyone at the front post and was nodded in at the centre of the goal by Sean Cronin to open his Wingate account on the 15-minute mark.
The hosts’ first effort came on 27 minutes as Darrell Russell was played in on goal and beat Wingate’s defence for pace but his shot was parried for a corner by Shane Gore – which was eventually cleared – and the half petered out without any further serious attempts.
However within seven minutes of the restart, Keith Rowland’s side had a deserved second. A trademark long throw from Sellers led to a mix up in the area and Beckles-Richards was on hand to stab home. A minute later, a bursting Laney crossed to find Beckles-Richards free inside the area but the striker somehow put his effort wide from six yards out. He didn’t have to wait long to make amends as Wingate quickly won the ball back and Laney once again found the summer signing in on goal. This time, Beckles-Richards deftly lobbed the ball over an onrushing Page to make it 3-0 on 52 minutes, and put the game out of sight.
On 61 minutes, a double substitution of Luke Ifil and Rob Ogleby replaced Wales and Beckles-Richards – and had an almost immediate impact. 14 minutes after coming on, Ogleby was played in on goal and finished at the near post after giving the keeper the eyes to send him the wrong way. At this point, Wingate were cruising and the score line looked to be heading towards an embarrassment for the hosts.
Billy Healey, still not at 100% this season, nearly opened his account after Laney found him inside the area – but he dragged his shot just wide of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post from the edge of the box. But two minutes later, Ifil – playing at right midfield – flicked the ball over Macauley Jones and crossed towards the front post. His ball was met by a leaping Healey, who headed across goal and into the far corner to make the score 5-0 and score his first of the season.
Half chances from Ahmet Rifat and Laney were unable to hit Waltham Abbey for six, whilst Gore had to make a smart save down to his right to maintain a well deserved clean sheet in the dying embers of the tie – but the Blues were able to see out the game and have their name in the hat for the next round.
WingateTV with Rifat, Healey and Cummings: HERE
Report by Nikhil Saglani