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Horsham 1-2 Wingate & Finchley

Sunday April 15, 2012, Written by Henry Hudson

Wingate & Finchley secured their place in the Ryman Premier Division for next season after beating already-relegated Horsham.

Horsham started the brighter of the two sides as the away side struggled to impose their passing game on the poor pitch, while any fluidity was disrupted by the aggressive tackling of Horsham skipper Callum Dunne.

There were scares early on as Blues ‘keeper Bobby Smith was tested from long range before Horsham’‘s Ray Freeman found the side netting from a tight angle.

Eventually, Wingate & Finchley were able to play their way into the game as Max Mitchell proved an effective outlet down the right flank. His dangerous cross volleyed inches wide by David Laird.

Murat Karagul came close for the Blues with a hooked shot before Bobby Smith was called into action again to make a brave block from Freeman after he had been played through on goal.

But in truth it the first half was a lacklustre affair with neither side really able to establish any dominance.

This changed just two minutes after the interval. Mitchell took a quick throw in to Leon Smith, who angled the ball through the caught-out defence for Laird to tap home and give the Blues the lead.

Horsham were rocking and it took just 10minutes for the visitors to double their advantage. Smith and Laird again combining for the latter to score with another audacious lob – now becoming something of a trademark shot for the striker – to make it 6 goals from his last 4 matches.

The home side got one back just moments later when Daniel Morris blasted a penalty home after Marc Weatherstone was adjudged to have brought him down. Weatherstone furious with the decision.

Wingate & Finchley were able to see out the remainder of the game quite comfortably. Horsham pressed for an equaliser but every time found the the Blues defence was solid and resolute.

The Blues have now ensured their survival in their debut season in the Ryman Premier Division. With just two games remaining they sit 15th in the table on 53 points.

Lineup; B Smith, Weatherstone, Nielsen, Street, Williams, Docker, Jones (Parmenter ’77), Mitchell, Karagul (Burke ’90), L Smith, Laird (Norman ’90)

Scorers; Laird (2)

Next up: East Thurrock (away)

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