Wingate & Finchley endured a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at local rivals, Enfield Town on Monday night, writes Nikhil Saglani.
Despite missing out on the chance to go top of the league on Saturday, the Blues had a second bite of the cherry in what would be, for now, a game in hand. Wingate got off to the brighter start of the two sides, with Karl Oliyide bursting through Enfield’s midfield but his shot flew well wide of the left hand post without troubling Nathan McDonald in goal. On the ten minute mark, Enfield’s first shot on target came through an optimistic 35 yard effort from captain Stanley Muguo, but his shot was easily gathered by Bobby Smith.
The visitors’ first shot on target came only six minutes later, when a great ball from Leon Solomon to Billy Healey allowed the club’s top goal scorer to play a deft touch into the path of Tommy Tejan-Sie, but the midfielder’s shot was palmed away by McDonald and cleared away to safety. On the 20-minute mark, Oliyide had a strong shout for a penalty turned down when Micky Parcell brought him down in the box. However, the Enfield defender was shown two yellow cards in the next ten minutes and headed down the tunnel for an early bath.
Wingate looked to make Enfield pay for the sending off and Rob Laney headed just wide from a corner, before flicking on a corner on 33 minutes which evaded the toes of Ahmet Rifat by no more than a stud’s length – Wingate’s pressure was mounting. Oliyide was then immaculately played in by Tejan-Sie but after shifting the ball onto his stronger foot, found his shot caught by McDonald. Enfield almost snatched a goal before half time, but George Bislen-Hall’s goal bound effort was deflected just over the bar by a good block from Rifat – and the teams went into half time all square.
Enfield came out into the second half with the pressure off, and immediately capitalised on a loss of concentration, Claudiu Vilcu heading home a corner after being left unmarked 10 yards out to put his side 1-0 up. Laney almost immediately levelled but his excellent glancing header from a Mark Goodman cross was well saved by McDonald. A minute later, the same combination led to another chance but Laney couldn’t guide his header goalward on this occasion.
On 73 minutes, the hosts doubled their lead when a brilliant through ball from man of the match, Tayshan Hayden-Smith found substitute Bobby Devyne in on goal and Town’s top scorer this season calmly dinked the ball over Smith for 2-0.
Wingate had half chances in the last quarter of an hour but only a Healey toe poke from a cross came close to a consolation and Wingate endured only a second defeat of the season – remaining in fourth place, three points off top spot.
Bobby Smith, Mark Goodman, Kyle Watson, Leon Solomon, Ahmet Rifat, Marc Weatherstone ©, Martel Powell, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Billy Healey, Karl Oliyide, Rob Laney (Reece Tison-Lascaris, 67)
Unused subs: Karl Stevenson, Coby Rowe, Jack Metcalfe and Michael Buckley
Nathan McDonald, Micky Parcell, Ricky Gabriel, Claudiu Vilcu, Harold Joseph, Stanley Muguo ©, George Bislen-Hall (Joey Stevens, 56), Ryan Doyle, Harry Ottaway (Bobby Devyne, 61), Evans Kouassi (Connor Witherspoon, 45), Tayshan Hayden-Smith.
Unused subs: Oluminde Durojaiye and Dernell Wynter.
Post-match interview with Simon Lane: