WINGATEWEBWingate & Finchley earned a slender three points, returning to winning ways against local rivals Hendon in this Boxing Day derby, writes Paul Lerner.

Ryman League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley 1 Hendon United 0
Thursday, 26 December, 2013

Both sides were at opposing ends of the form table, and although Hendon dominated for long spells in the game, a lack of cutting-edge was to be the difference between the sides.

Wingate were suffering from injuries and suspensions, with a debut handed to new signing Adam Bolle up front. After a tentative opening period in which Bobby Smith was forced to make one excellent low save, Bolle was to open his account in the 25th minute with what proved to be the game’s winning goal. Lewis Jones, back in the side after a year-long injury, sent a vicious low cross from the right wing which ran through to Bolle at the far post. He showed great determination and slid in directing the ball powerfully into the roof of the net.

The same two combined again as Jones hit the post with a curling free kick, but Bolle missed an instinctive rebound from close range as he could not wrap his foot around the ball in time.

At the other end, Hendon began to create some chances. Former Blue Anthony Thomas showed his typical venom as he struck the crossbar on the volley. Meanwhile Smith was on hand to block low at the feet of Jefferson Louis who appeared to panic in front of goal.

In the second half Hendon’s Dave Diedhiou missed a header from close range after some well-worked approach play in the box. Jones was again the catalyst for Wingate, as he released Ola Williams down the right wing and he sent over a high cross, but Leon Smith headed wide beyond the far post.

Hendon began to assert some control from here for much of the second half. Jefferson Louis flicked a header narrowly wide of the far left post, and another attack from the right flank was only halted by a superb block from Bobby Smith. As Hendon became disillusioned at still being behind, a desperate shot from Louis from considerable distance was comfortably held by Smith.

With Leon Smith playing deeper, he released Hector Mackie for a Wingate attack. The winger, in his first game for three months, showed composure as he cut inside and shot low from the edge of the box – but his effort was straight at keeper Ross Fitzsimons.

The visitor’s best chance of levelling came from a set piece. A free kick on the edge of the area from Michael Murray was well held by Smith as it flew towards the top left corner.

Jack Read, a recent U18 signing from Chesham Utd, was brought on for his first team debut. He should have won a penalty before even touching the ball as he was tripped by a defender chasing a pass that ran through to the keeper, though the referee appeared to have his view blocked. At the other end Hendon also had claims for a spot kick denied by the referee as Louis and Williams collided.

Williams went on another bursting run forward and was fouled on the edge of the Hendon box. This time Jones had a good opportunity from a free kick but he missed the left post with his effort.

Smith, Weatherstone and Aisien were imperious at the back as they saw out the win much to the relief of the home support.

Head Coach Daniel Nielsen said he was delighted with the result: “I feel that the players deserve it for their work rate throughout the whole game. I was very pleased with Adam Bolle on his debut and he led the line very well, also Lewis Jones was superb in his first game back in over a year. Overall it was a fantastic team performance and I do feel we deserved the three points.”

Wingate & Finchley Lineup:
Smith, Williams, Wright, Henry, Weatherstone, Aisien, Jones (Sharpe 90), McGonigle, Smith (Read 86), Adam Bolle, Tejan-Sie (Mackie 65). Subs: Owen, Davies.

Attendance:
155

Referee:
P Howard

**UPDATED TABLE**