A James Gershfield double could not prevent Wingate & Finchley from going out of the Championship Managers Ryman League Cup after they were beaten 3-2 by Canvey Island.
Travelling to the freezing Essex coast for this last 16 tie against Ryman Premier Division opposition, .manager Dave Norman made a number of changes with three tough league matches ahead rested Craig Ellis, among others. These changes allowed places for Gershfield up front.
It was Canvey who started the stronger and they played towards the sea wall end in the first half. Despite dominating possession chances were very limited. With their full first team on show which included ex-Dagenham & Redbridge centre half Chris Moore, Canvey were going to be a tough nut to crack. Their first goal came in the 25th minute from Richard Halle who rifled in a free kick from just outside the box.
With the conditions getting tougher as the ground became firmer, both teams stepped up a gear. It was Canvey who took the all-important second goal when Wingate keeper Gavin King could only parry a shot and Halle was on hand again to score his second as he sent a looping header over Gavin King.
The game seemed over in the 60th minute when James Rowe made a very effective run into the box and placed a slide rule goal past King. However instead of the game drifting to a conclusion it was Wingate who launched a remarkable fight back led by Gershfield in sparkling form up front. The fight back began when the excellent Alfie Bartram completely out paced the Canvey full back and put in a pin point cross for Gershfield to tap in .
With 20 minutes to go, Wingate had a lifeline. In the 80th minute Gershfield outpaced defender Moore and bore down on goal and side footed the ball past the helpless Russell to set up a grandstand finish with his second of the night.
The last 10 minutes saw Wingate launch wave after wave of attack and both Gershfield and Leon Smith who had come on as a substitute were unlucky .
As time eventually ran out it was Canvey that progressed but Wingate left the field with their heads held high after a great performance which must help their confidence with the tough league campaign ahead.
Wingate & Finchley : King, Nielson , Wright, Fowler (sub: Killingback 72) , Webb, Rifat. Weatherstone (sub: Smith 67) , Henry, Gershfield, Chase , Bartram. Subs not used: Norman, Edgerley,Thomas.