Wingate & Finchley were left to rue missing their chances and a controversial last-minute goal as they were beaten at the Harry Abrahams Stadium, writes Khalid Karimullah.
It took only a minute for the first chance to arrive after Tommy Tejan-Sie picked out the pacy Rob Laney with a lovely floated ball over the visitors’ defence, who initially got away from Richard Halle, but the latter and Conor Gough closed down the space and were able to clear the danger out for a corner. Subsequently a Tejan-Sie corner then found captain Marc Weatherstone who glanced his header towards goal, before the ball was cleared off the line. The Blues looked penetrating in attack and fabricated a great chance. Leon Solomon making a bombarding run up the right flank crossed in a stunning ball in between Gough and his centre-halves, however Laney uncharacteristically just couldn’t get a defining touch on the ball as the danger trickled out.
Moments later Canvey had two great chances come their way in similar fashion. First, Marlon Agyakwa got away down the right prior to his dangerous cross into the box, and with Harrison Chatting holding his ground, the forward just couldn’t get any proper connection on the ball. Not long after, Tambeson Eyong floated in another ball again from the right, and with Canvey Island top scorer Martin Touhy in the right place for the Gulls, he somehow miscued his shot with Bobby Smith making an easy gather.
Tejan-Sie then drifted out to the right and skilfully got past Ashley Dumas before finding an unmarked Ola Sogbanmu, whose attempted volley went inches past the post. With Wingate looking in fine attacking form, it was Canvey who undeservedly almost took the lead after an under hit back pass by Weatherstone allowed Agyakwa to run onto the loose ball, before the midfielder was denied by Smith who rushed out of his goal. Half way through the first half, Michael Buckley mimicked Tejan-Sie with a defence splitting pass through to Sogbanmu, who out-muscled Halle, before his powerful drive again went just over. Agyakwa created another chance for the visitors after he won the ball half way inside Wingate’s half, before whipping in a dangerous ball to the back post from the right flank, however Wilson Carvalho just couldn’t reach the ball as he dived in for a header.
With half-time approaching, Leon Solomon exchanged passes with Tejan-Sie before cutting inside and firing a shot towards the bottom corner which forced Gough to make a stretching save to his left. After the restart, Billy Healey somehow missed a great chance after Tejan-Sie’s delivered in cross from the right found the forward, however he just couldn’t get any connection. On 54 minutes Wingate did eventually take the lead. After Solomon cut inside, he found Tejan-Sie in the box whose initial drive was saved by Gough, before Healey’s goal bound effort was cleared off the line. From the resulting corner, after the ball failed to be cleared, Sogbanmu played a short pass to Ahmet Rifat, who side footed his defender before placing the ball into the bottom corner.
Tejan-Sie almost finished off a great counter-attack for the Blues, forcing Gough to make a fine save, before Canvey found themselves level. After winning a corner, Smith parried an initial goal bound effort by Richard Halle onto the crossbar, before the ball fell back to the defender who placed his effort into the far corner on 71 minutes. Despite both sides attempting to force the issue, the defences were on top and remained resolute. The closest either side came to scoring after that was Glen Poole’s floated cross finding the head of Ozzy Adeniji, who forced Smith into making a good save after he got a strong hand to the attackers effort.
With the game conceivably looking like both teams will get a share of the spoils, in the 89th minute Canvey got in front, however their goal should have been disallowed. After the ball came in from the right, Chatting miscued his shot before what initially looked like a diving header from Touhy, was actually an atrocious handball from the forward as he wrongfully robbed Wingate on the night.
Wingate & Finchley:
Bobby Smith, Leon Solomon, Kyle Watson, Michael Buckley (Reece Tison-Lascaris 83), Ahmet Rifat, Marc Weatherstone, Martel Powell, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Billy Healey (Karl Oliyide 71),, Ola Sogbanmu, Rob Laney
Unused subs: Reece Tison-Lascaris, Karl Stevenson, Karl Oliyide, Mark Goodman, Jack Metcalfe
Conor Gough, Steve Sheehan, Ashley Dumas, Tambeson Eyong, Richard Halle (c), Lawrence Yiga, Marlon Agyakwa (Dan Gilchrist 62), Glen Poole, Harrison Chatting, Martin Touhy, Wilson Carvalho (Ozzy Adeniji 62)
Dan Gilchrist, Jake Pitty, Ozzy Adeniji, Omar Lawson