WINGATEWEBWingate were left bemoaning lady luck as they kicked off their league season with defeat, losing out in a seven-goal thriller.

Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 3 Leiston 4
Saturday, 9 August, 2014

In a game in which they dominated and created the better chances, hitting the woodwork twice and having two penalties denied proved to be the difference so that Leiston could cling on to a tight victory.

For the visitors, Scott Mitchell sent an early free-kick curling over the bar. Michael Brothers went closer with a firm drive on target but Bobby Smith parried and gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Wingate and Finchley soon took the lead in the eighth minute. Loanee James Kaloczi built from the back and spread the ball out wide to Mark Goodman. He floated in a flat cross which Rob Laney reached to flick home with a deft header.

Next on the attack was Tommy Tejan-Sie when he tested the keeper with a low free-kick, that he blocked at full stretch down to his left. Wingate were in the ascendancy, and came close to scoring a second when David Knight was released by a slide-rule pass but his one-on-one was blocked.

However, Leiston levelled in the 19th minute when Gareth Heath volleyed home unmarked after being set up by Cliff Akurang’s knock-down.

The game tightened up after the goal, and David Knight sent a free-kick over whilst James Kolaczi fired over the bar after the break. However, Wingate should have been given a penalty when Laney was hauled down from behind inside the box.

Leiston’s Joe Francis was next to test one of the keepers when he was released by one long ball down the left. However, his drill across goal lacked the pace to trouble Bobby Smith.

Just a minute later, Scott Shulton was similarly released down the wing. He managed to cut inside and drilled the ball into the far corner of the net.

Joe Francis levelled again just two minutes later, when Akurang miscontrolled and a clearance only managed to find Francis, who volleyed into the top corner. Wingate were rocked and Bobby Smith then had to make a great block after Blake Saker had beaten offside trap.

Three minutes later Leiston had the lead, when Craig Parker arrived late into the box to volley home a rebound from a looping cross that wasn’t cleared.

The game was completely open and Wingate came inches away from equalising instantly. Shulton was released to the left byeline by a long ball, he cut the ball back to David Knight but he agonisingly struck the right post.

The woodwork was struck again when Knight drove at goal after a short corner, the ball deflecting high onto the bar as luck remained on Leiston’s side.

Wingate fumed further when Leiston’s keeper committed a trip on Nico Muir on the goal line, but again the referee failed to award a penalty. Danny Gay would surely have been sent-off too for denying a goalscoring opportunity, and to add salt to Wingate’s multiple wounds Leiston went straight up the other end to score, as with an extra man Heath had a free tap in at the far post.

David Knight cut the deficit back to one goal in injury time with a tap in after a deflected Shulton shot but the score stayed at 4-3.

Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Kaloczi, Lake, Street, Shulton, Tejan-Sie, Knight, Laney (Muir 80), Oliyide (Sogbanmu 80). Subs Rose, Fisher, Wright.

Goals:
Laney 8, Shulton 67
Heath 19, 86. Francis 69, Parker 73.

Attendance:
129

Referee:
D Bushell