Wingate & Finchley arrive at The Pan on Saturday looking to get back on track after a poor spell of form. Prior to their win at Brentwood Town on Tuesday (thank you for that one!) they had only taken two points from five games. After a decent first half of the season, Director of Football Simon Lane departed the club just after Christmas and was replaced by former West Ham and Northern Ireland full-back Keith Rowland. Since then the club’s form has stuttered but they have enough points on the board to be safe from relegation.
Our last game against them was back in January when we drew 1-1 in North Finchley, with Stacey Freeman’s early goal cancelled out by a late Healey penalty. Prior to that, our record against The Blues has been excellent as we have won two-thirds of our recent encounters against them. The current record reads:-
P 9 W 6 D 2 L 1 GF 19 GA 8
Our visitor’s away form has been quite good this year with 8 wins on the road, although they have lost four of their last eight away from the Harry Abrahams Stadium. They’ve scored 27 and conceded 25 in their 19 away ties so it could be a close encounter on Saturday. Rowland has been busy in the last few weeks bringing in some new faces including Chris Haigh from Braintree Town, Aaron Pollock and Freddie Moncur (son of John Moncur) from Leyton Orient.
Darren will still be without Lloyd Cotton (serving the second of his two game suspension), although his red card from the VCD game has now been rescinded on appeal to the FA (although no help in getting the lost points back) whilst Jonte Smith is still away with Bermuda in the Caribbean Cup as we look to extend our excellent home form and grab another three points in our battle against relegation.
Despite our league position, Darren remains upbeat.
“As a manager, I hate this time of season. We’re approaching the March 31st transfer deadline, and it’s a time when clubs can throw in seven-day approaches and players come and go. It’s important that we all continue to keep the faith. Everyone’s working massively hard behind the scenes. In particular, I’d like to thank Joe and Jack Fingerneissl for all the work they’ve done to give us a magnificent playing surface, that any player should be proud to play on.
With few midweek games in recent weeks, we’ve been on the training ground, working hard on our shape. The lads have been magnificent in training and I feel that’s being put into practice on the pitch and we’re starting to get rewards – rewards such as three points from Brentwood last Saturday.
The boys had to work hard for the result in Essex. They sat with ten people behind the ball and it took a bit of time to break them down, but I was really pleased to see Henry score. With Jonte Smith away on international duty, we went with two young strikers up top: Josh Street and Alex Laing, who both played well. Josh showed a lot of maturity for a 16-year-old lad.
Talking of talents, I was pleased to see Jonte scoring for Bermuda against Cuba earlier this week. It’s hard for a manager to lose a player at any time of the season, let alone in the run-in, but I was pleased Jonte got the opportunity to play for his country and took that opportunity with both hands. He earned that call-up by coming down here to Lewes and scoring seven goals for us in the short time he’s been here. It’s a credit to him and all the other lads for creating the chances for him to score, and it’s fantastic for Lewes to have player that represented their country and scored a goal.
They should also be – and are – proud to play for the fans of this club. You were great against VCD and we really appreciate all the people who made the trip to Brentwood. I note Henry really showed his appreciation with Ethel! Keep backing the boys and we’ll keep giving it our all.”
Kick off on Saturday at The Pan is 3pm.