Wingate and Finchley’s search for a first win in 2016 continues as Keith Rowland’s men are held to a 0-0 draw away at Grays Athletic, writes Andy Gerlis.
With just two points and as many places between the sides in the table, a tight affair was always on the cards.
But both sides cancelled each other out, restricting each other to shots from distance with just a few flashes of excitement to warm up a chilly crowd.
The Blues arguably got off to a better start, Billy Healey and Dan Brown both sending volleys dipping over the bar.
But it was Grays’ Jake Hutchings that came closest to opening the scoring, though the referee adjudged Kyle Watson’s deflection of his header on to the bar to have not crossed the line when dropping back down.
However, Wingate goalkeeper Jack Metcalfe may not have been so appreciative of Watson’s close proximity when the two went for a high ball just outside the area.
A lack of communication as both challenged for the ball allowed Corey Davidson to poke a lob at goal that bounced just wide of the post.
And the striker had another chance on the stroke of half time, but could only send his volley over the bar after Metcalfe had saved excellently from Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson’s close range-shot.
It was to be a while before either goalkeeper was troubled again.
Bar an Ahmet Rifat floating a shot into Lamar Joseph-Johnson’s gloves two minutes after the restart, neither area was breached again until the 85th minute.
Healey’s header beat Joseph-Johnson but floated on to the roof of the net, while at the other end strong claims for a penalty from Grays’ Roman Michael-Percil were waved away by the referee.
And Wingate’s best chance of the match came two minutes from the end, Healey’s long range effort cannoning back off the post.
But, chasing after the loose ball, Rob Laney tangled with Joseph-Johnson as the keeper attempted to gather.
As the pair stood up, Joseph-Johnson appeared to headbutt the striker, resulting in a coming together that saw both players sent off and defender Sean Cronin deputise between the sticks for the remaining couple of minutes.
A dismal end to a dismal afternoon of football in dismal weather, meaning the Blues will look to find form quickly ahead of an eight day period that sees them play four fixtures across three competitions.
Wingate and Finchley:
Metcalfe (GK), Goodman, Watson, Brown, Weatherstone (C), Rifat, Laney, Tejan-Sie, Healey, Sharpe (Sogbanmu 60’), Bartram
Unused Subs: Read, Moore-Azille, Oliyide
Joseph-Johnson (GK), Ifill, Sivapathasundaran, Cronin (C), Hutchins, Agyemang, Michael-Percil, Bentley (Carlos 59’), Fortnam-Tomlinson, Symons (Beaney 81’), Davidson (Maltese 74’)
Unused Subs: Fuller, Ekipeta
WingateTV interview with Keith Rowland: