A touch of “after the Lord Mayor’s show” for the Stags at the Abrahams Stadium on Tuesday but still an excellent match even so. Both the Wingate & Waltham Forest committees had to agree that, not only did both teams play in the proper spirit but the game was good and the referee and his assistants were also to be congratulated for letting the game flow and treating the players with some respect.
Wingate were “first out of the blocks” and went on the attack immediately with the midfield spraying the ball to both wings where they found space which they should not have been allowed. Their one touch football exploited the conditions and soon they were getting good crosses into the Stags’ penalty area.
Although Wingate’s running and pushing upfield looked good, this sometimes left space behind the defence which both Hasan Kardal and Dewayne Clarke were quick to capitalise on a number of times.
As the game ebbed and flowed, it seemed certain that one of the two teams would mark an early goal and, on the 14th minute the inevitable happened: controlled the ball in midfield and quickly moved it through the Stags’ defence leaving Williams the space to run on. He shot but King saved only to see Tchankou strike the ball home from close in.
Forest were straight off the mark after the restart but were unable to use the space behind the home defence as both Clarke and Kardal held the ball up when a run into the penalty area may have brought more fruit.
On 24 minutes, a mix up in the Wingate defence allowed Clarke through but his shot was well blocked on the goal line by Morris. Soon, Kardal broke through but again, his hesitancy allowed the home defence to reform and arrest progress.
About ten minutes before the interval, Wingate should have gone further ahead after an excellent move involving four or five players but ending with Sloma hitting the outside of King’s right post. The first half ended with both teams still going for the next goal.
Forest seemed much more determined in the second half and began to exploit the wings. The first onslaught brought a cross from Cashman which Kardal just headed wide when, in truth, he should have scored.
Kanyuka and Clarke managed to find space and Tariq Nabil began to exert his stamp on the midfield. Soloman Henry managed to get free on a number of occassions and, on one occassion got through to shoot from ten yards. His shot was saved but the ball fell to Henry again. His second shot was headed off the line by Ellis.
The play, once more, moved to the Stags’ end where Sloma passed a free kick to Grimsdell who just skimmed the post with his shot. The pace of the game seemed to increase as the Stags went for the equaliser. Kali, in the home goal made a number of good saves before Kanyuka saw an excellent close in shot rebound out from the angle between crossbar and post.
A further Kalli save saw Wingate go straight on the attack and a pass from Ward to Kissi resulted in an excellent second goal fro the home team.
Changes were made and Charlery was moved up front with Liam Baptiste coming on for his first match of the season in defence. With five minutes to go Nabil turned up on the right of the Wingate penalty area and cut into the box. He passed two tackles then sent the ball to Baptiste who slotted home neatly from 12 yards.
The Stags went looking for a deserved equaliser but found luck was out and a resolute Wingate defence standing firm. Just like Saturday, this was an excellent advert for Southern League football even though the Stags did not get at least the point that they deserved.