Wingate & Finchley advanced to the First Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup via a 2-0 victory at home to Welwyn Garden City on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Both goals came in a second half dominated by the Blues, with Alphonso Kennedy grabbing his first Wingate goal on 50 minutes, followed by Olumide Oluwatimilehin finishing the job in stoppage time.
In a relatively quiet first period, the hosts were largely in charge of proceedings despite being unable to craft many clear chances.
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 was a cross from Roman Michael-Percil which narrowly evaded the boot of Anthony Mendy.
Wingate came out of the traps in the second half on a mission, and a cross from Oluwatimilehin which was smashed over by Kennedy gave a glimpse of their attacking prowess.
It took just 5 second half minutes for the home side to make a breakthrough. Kennedy ran through on goal after being played through and slotted home at the near post, making up for his miss a couple of minutes prior.
Wingate continued to control the match as the second period progressed, and Mendy saw a squared pass narrowly roll past his outstretched leg once again with 25 minutes to go.
The Blues missed a huge chance to seal the victory on 72 minutes; Tanasheh Abrahams threaded a pass through to Mendy who rounded the keeper, but was unable to grab the finish, shooting just wide of an empty net.
Welwyn did threaten an equaliser, and Shane Gore was tested by a low shot which he was able to save without too much difficulty.
With the visitors committing men upfield, an opportunity for Wingate to finalise their ticket into the next round was presented; as the Blues players converged on the Welwyn box, Tommy Tejan-Sie played a heavy ball across which Layne Eadie was able to pick up, before playing it into Oluwatimilehin’s path. The midfielder took a touch before curling a superb finish into the top corner to make it 2-0.
An eventually comprehensive victory for Wingate & Finchley takes them to the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, which will be drawn on Tuesday 27th August.
Report by Jamie Grossman