Wingate and Finchley match report
match report by Rupert Cane
Kingstonian’s start to the new year - a 3-2 win, a pair of 4-2 victories and then a controversial loss at Carshalton - had not lacked drama. So, in many respects, Hayden Bird would probably have enjoyed watching his team record a routine home win against Wingate & Finchley on Saturday.
An early K’s goal set the tone for a largely comfortable afternoon’s work. Fabio Saraiva, making his return to the team after over four months out with injury, attacked down the left with customary purpose and precision. His low cross was a dangerous one, and a visiting Wingate defender could only turn it into the path of the onrushing Gus Sow. The skipper’s left-footed finish from eight yards out was as well-placed as his many spot-kicks this term. Not three minutes had been played.
K’s sought a quick second using the pace of Daniel Ajakaiye in behind, but it was the visitors who began to take control of the contest midway through the half on a terrible King George’s Field pitch. Serine Sanneh was called into action twice in quick succession, saving from Hani Berchiche and then – more impressively – the lively Antonis Vasiliou.
Tyrique Clarke also drew a decent save out of Sanneh, impressing on his home debut, before K’s grabbed a second goal with half-time approaching. On this occasion it stemmed from an attack down our right-hand side, Elliot Buchanan working the ball wide to Rhys Murrell-Williamson, back in his favoured position. He sped past Sam Hatton and fired a low shot under Ben Goode to ensure the half ended as it began: with a Kingstonian goal.
Bird recognised his team hadn’t controlled possession as much as he would have liked, even if the surface did not exactly lend itself to great football, and he changed shape when play restarted, Buchanan joining Ajakaiye in a front two.
Unlike most K’s games this season, the second half was a non-event with those in hoops barely getting out of second gear, and never needing to. Aside from a shot Sanneh watched sail over his crossbar, we nullified Wingate’s threat. At the other end, Elliott Buchanan went close on three occasions, including hitting the outside of the post with his last involvement before being replaced by Simon Cooper.
It finished 2-0, the shutout Kingstonian’s first in 10 weeks. Bird knows his team will likely face a sterner examination when play-off rivals Enfield visit on Saturday
Wingate and Finchley: Ben Goode, Sam Hatton, Luke Ifil, Jesse Armoo, Dexter Peter, Lewis Hobbs, Liam Smith, Tyrique Clarke, Hani Berchiche, Kavan Cotter, Antonis Vasiliou.
Subs: Matthew Achuba (forJesse Armoo, HT), Jabir Laraba, Julian Sarmiento Ramirez, Harvey Steel (for Liam Smyth, 67m), Marc Weatherstone.
Goal scorers: Gus Sow (3m, 1-0), Rhys Murrell-Williamson (43m, 2-0)