LAST MINUTE WINNER MOVES TOWN UP TO 10TH
Wingate & Finchley 1 Enfield Town 2
Enfield Town secured a league double over their Middlesex neighbours on Tuesday night thanks to a spirited second half performance which overturned a 0-1 half-time deficit. After a Bobby Devyne equaliser, Claudiu Vilcu popped up with the winner at the death.
Bradley Quinton shuffled his selection pack, with Harold Joseph, Tayshan Hayden-Smith, Bobby Devyne and Evans Kouassi coming into the starting line-up for Mickey Parcell, Tyler Campbell (unwell), Corey Whitely and Phil Lowen.
The first half was a somewhat disjointed, and occasionally fractious, affair as Town had plenty of possession but didn’t test home keeper Bobby Smith too often. After lengthy treatment for a Nathan Livings injury, Ryan Doyle was caught in possession by Leon Solomon, who released Billy Healy, but Nathan McDonald was on hand to save for the visitors.
On ten minutes, Wingate’s Marc Weatherstone reacted badly to a foul by Stan Muguo near the centre circle, and a melee followed involving a number of players. The referee issued cards to Weatherstone, Muguo and Devyne once things had cooled down.
Samir Bihmoutine and Devyne had efforts which failed to trouble Smith and, at the other end, Healey was proving to be a handful as the hosts’ primary attacking threat. And so he proved to be when he netted the game’s opener in the 37th minute. Following further efforts from Ottaway, Devyne and Vilcu, Healy latched onto a loose ball which the exposed McDonald had parried and opened the scoring.
Town had a great chance to equalise just a minute later. Devyne robbed the hesitant Weatherstone on the edge of the home box and played the ball low into the danger area. Hayden-Smith was first to it, but he was crowded out by the hosts’ rearguard. A couple of minutes before the break, an Ottaway header was saved by Smith.
Half-time: Wingate & Finchley 1 Enfield Town 0
Kouassi fired narrowly wide twice soon after the restart as Town looked to get back on level terms. Between those efforts, Ottaway found himself with only Smith to beat but the experienced keeper came out quickly to block his shot.
The visitors drew level in the 57th minute. Corey Whitely came on as a substitute for Hayden-Smith and made an immediate impact, getting involved in the move which led to Devyne coolly firing across Smith from the inside-left position.
Wingate stirred and it was game on as the dangerous Mark Goodman forced a corner on the right and then Tommy Tejan-Sie had a shot just wide of the upright. With around a quarter of an hour left, Whitely, wearing some precautionary strapping around his left knee, had a run and shot, whilst the tireless Healey brought the best out of McDonald. Devyne had the ball in the Wingate net again in the 80th minute from another Whitely pass, but from an offside position.
With the game entering four minutes of added time, Town cranked up one more attack, and a good, flowing team move was finished off by a pass from Ottaway to Vilcu who picked his spot to send the travelling fans home in a good new year mood.
Wingate & Finchley: Smith, Goodman, Solomon, Sogbanmu (Oliyide 57), Weatherstone, Moore-Azille, Powell, Tejan-Sie, Healey, Rifat, Laney (Austin 83). Unused: Sharpe, Grantham, Metcalfe.
Enfield Town: McDonald, Doyle, Bihmoutine, Vilcu, Joseph, Muguo, Hayden-Smith (Whitely 56), Livings (Parcell 86), Devyne, Ottaway, Kouassi (Stevens 73). Unused: Lowen, Wynter. Booked: Muguo, Devyne.