Wingate & Finchley FC’s tremendous end to the season, winning 9 of their last 10 games and drawing one.

Although football isn’t my sport (wrong shape ball) I think it is terrific that our Finchley team, based in Summers Avenue, North Finchley, is doing so well here is their press release. Note that I always put press releases in a lighter colour and indent them to show that it wasn’t our hard work!

Tuesday 10th May 2011 – London Senior Cup Final – Wingate & Finchley 3-1 Hendon

Wingate & Finchley came from behind in this London Senior Cup Final, to beat Hendon and complete an historic Treble including promotion to the Ryman Premier Division and the League Cup.

Both sides were slightly depleted, Hendon through injuries and Wingate’s squad shattered from the two extra-time matches of the last five days. On the pot-holed dusty pitch it was Hendon who dominated the opening stages and took the lead in the 14th minute with a scrappy goal bundled home from a near-post corner by Greg Ngoyi.

Wingate responded immediately from this setback, and the Hendon centre back James Parker should then have been sent off for cynically hauling down Murat Karagul when through on goal, but the referee was too afraid of giving such an important decision so early in a cup final.

The lively Karagul then equalised on the half hour mark. Receiving a ball upfield from Jones he showed strength to hold off his marker, and from close range swivelled and volleyed low through the helpless goalkeeper.

The game was deservedly level again, but Hendon’s Scott Cousins was the second player who was lucky to stay on the field after an over-the-ball challenge on Ola Williams on the halfway line which brought only a booking.

Both sides found life tricky on the embarrassingly horrendous football pitch, as it was clear that both sets of players were more comfortable playing a passing style of football. 

The Blues then took the lead ten minutes after the break. Lewis Jones worked hard to press and close down the Hendon right-back, who lost all confidence in reading which direction the ball may next move off the surface, and the ball broke for the onrushing Sam Sloma. He forged into the box and showed great composure to slot the ball at the near post under goalkeeper James Reading.

Wingate sat back well and the defensive line of Marc Weatherstone, Paul Wright, Ahmet Rifat and Daniel Nielsen forced the Hendon strikeforce into mistakes time after time. Then on 70 minutes, as the green army were committing men forward, Lewis Jones all but sealed the trophy for Wingate & Finchley finishing off a great counter-attack. A superb run down the right from Williams attacking two players, took him into the area where a low cross found Jones who diverted the ball in at the near post from ten yards.

At the other end Hendon hit a post from a tight angle wide on the right with one of their only meaningful shots of the second half, whilst for Wingate Leon Smith was substituted on and nearly made an instant impact with a shot at the near post which the keeper Reading did well to get his whole body behind.

The regimented side knew just how to hold on to a lead – something they have had a lot of practice doing in recent weeks having won 9 and drawn 1 of the final 10 games at the business end of the season – and they played out the final moments with extreme professionalism, sealing a quite incredible Treble of honours that goes down in history as the Club’s most successful.

Lineup: King, Weatherstone, Wright, Fowler (Henry 46), Nielsen, Rifat,  Williams (Smith 75), O’Brien, Karagul, Jones, Sloma (Laird 80). Subs: Cooper, Burrell.

Man of the match Murat Karagul, who scored the side’s opening goal, said “We’ve won this treble in our club with a fantastic atmosphere, and we are already looking forward to next year and taking the Premier League by storm.”

Manager David Norman said: “an incredible end to a fantastic season. This evening’s game showed how much work and effort the staff and players have given this year. Having secured promotion after two strenuous matches, six changes were made to the starting lineup. This evening’s result shows the quality in depth of the squad we have assembled here at Wingate, and we will all enjoy the break and focus on consolidation in the Ryman Premier.”

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