Wingate & Finchley 1 vs Lewes 1: Hot, damn hot

Our previous visit to Wingate in November was so cold, a few of us seriously considered carving open a Stodgebuster and climbing inside for warmth. Fast forward nine months, and when Bristol Jim learned it was a ten-minute walk from the pub to the ground, he was on the phone to his other half, telling her to look after the kids if he didn’t make it in the heat.

In the words of Robin Williams it was…

Things were changeable on the pitch too. Cool Box Tone had turned into Cool Hand Tone, playing his cards very close to his chest until just before kick-off.

Hence, there was a flurry of new signings in the starting XI. Alfie Young lined up in the centre of defence, alongside new skipper Tom Champion.

Ronan Silva had dropped in on loan from crypto Crawley, who probably want the loan fee paid in monkey cartoons of John Terry via the non-league blockchain.

Right-back Marcel Elva-Fountaine and midfielder Jack Skinner were the other new faces, while Henry Muggeridge and Deon Moore reacquainted themselves with the sweaty Rooks faithful.

Alas, Joe Taylor had succumbed to ankle knack and all that hoiking of watering cans up to the vegetable patch had clearly done Brad Pritchard a mischief, as he pulled out in the warm-up. Either that or he was serving a three-game hosepipe ban. (No, the jokes haven’t got any better this season.)

The first half was reasonably uneventful. Lewes were largely in control, but looked about as threatening as Lorraine Kelly. Dalling blew the best chance of the half, when a whipped cross found the winger at the back post, but he couldn’t get a header on target.

Both sides could easily have been a man down by half-time. New boy Silva threw an arm at the hooter of a Wingate defender and was a tad fortunate to only see yellow. Wingate’s hulking centre-back, Addison Garnett, might also have been sent for an early ice bath, after tugging back Razz whilst already on a yellow card. Wingate sensibly hooked him at half-time, much to the disappointment of the away gaggle.

The second half upped the entertainment value. It took only six minutes for the Rooks to make the breakthrough. Razz – by far our man of the match – dinked a lovely ball into Silva’s path. He had enough time to complete a medical degree before slotting the ball calmly past Goode in the Wingate goal.

Alas, our inability to hold a lead remains a problem. Wingate had a couple of half-chances before they equalised only seven minutes after we took the lead. A ball was whipped in from the right and the family-sized Dylan Kearney got his head to it. It seemed to bounce off the bar and slam down on the line, but the dust-up in Ukraine hasn’t stopped the FA appointing Russian linsemen, and so the goal was signalled by the flag-bearer.

Lewes should still have secured the three points. Another Razz dart down the left saw the ball pulled back brilliantly to the waiting Silva, but the keeper got a foot to the low shot.

Despite the game not finishing until five to midnight because of the various drinks breaks, injuries, non-injuries and substitutions, Lewes couldn’t make the second breakthrough.

So, attention turns to Tuesday and our first game on The Dripping Pan’s new ‘carpet’. Please take your shoes off at the turnstiles.

Lewes: Carey, Elva-Fountaine, Carlse, Champion, Young, Muggeridge, Silva, Skinner, Coleman De-Graft, Dalling, Moore

Benchwarmers: Yao, Jenkins, Olukoga, Murrell-Williamson, Tozer-Middleton

Supporters Club Man of the Match: Razz. More tricks than a Paul Daniels Christmas special.

Boyesy’s brilliant match photos: