Wingate & Finchley continued their unwanted win-less record with a frustrating, and unlucky 2-1 defeat to Kingstonian at the Kingsmeadow Stadium, writes Khalid Karimullah.
With just two points and as many places between the sides in the table, a tight affair was always on the cards.
With the visitors still trying to settle, they soon found themselves trailing from a spectacular opening goal after just four minutes. After Malachi Hudson made a telling run through the centre, his cutting pass played Andre McCollin away down the left flank whose tremendous strike found its way past Jack Metcalfe.
Just two minutes later, the Blues made sure the game was brought level again. Tommy Tejan-Sie, inside left channel, threaded a lovely cross to Rob Laney, whose shot forced Rob Tolfrey to be at his best. Though the shot-stopper could do nothing about Billy Healey’s follow up, as Wingate’s top scorer found the back of the net from close range.
With the game being too open for Keith Rowlands’ liking, the K’s made sure of their lead once again. Dan Bennett, who caused difficulties down the right flank for the majority of the first half, cut inside before attempting to beat Metcalfe who made the save. However, despite getting a hand to the ball, the forward’s effort was creeping over the line before McCollin then grabbed his second of the game from one yard, after just nine minutes.
Despite the hosts leading, there was just a flurry of Wingate pressure. First Laney’s attempted through-ball looking to set up Alex Addai for a one-on-one chance was just denied, before Healey was caught in two minds after leaving Aaron Goode trailing as his attempted pass looking for Laney was cleared away. Addai and Laney were again heavily involved, as the former’s back post cross was met by the head of the latter, who could only place his header across the face of goal.
Then an almost carbon-copy chance was created for Kingstonian. Bennett again drifted inside before Marc Weatherstone was forced to make a vital clearance, and as the loose ball fell to Hudson, the midfielder could only place his effort over the bar. Moments later, Rowland’s side were in danger of conceding another. Bennett made his way to the by-line before his cut back found McCollin, who bizarrely placed his attempt wide of Metcalfe’s post under no pressure. Hudson then found his way past Mark Goodman, but saw his efforts to get a shot away denied by Brad Hewitt and Weatherstone. Prior to Metcalfe being forced into a low save this time by the arrowing strike from George Wells which took a deflection off Goodman.
Just as the enthralling half was coming to a close, Tejan-Sie exchanged passes with Addai, before the latter’s low cross ensured Healey a chance at goal from close range, though the forward was again denied. Then with Rowland creating a significant moment just before the second half had kicked off, by making sure every player was involved in a team talk on the pitch, the Blues increased their tempo.
First however, it was the hosts who had the first chance, though was a rarity for the majority of the restart. Hudson’s deep ball to the far post was met by Pelayo Pico Gomez, whose close range drive was denied by Kyle Watson. At the other end, Addai delivered another fine ball from the right flank which was met by the head of Healey, whose header went wide. Minutes later, Laney made a charge towards goal before picking out Healey, who from six yards forced a superb save from Tolfrey. The last significant attacking play from the home side came after an Alan Inns free header from a Gomez corner was headed over the bar.
The next chance for Wingate had everyone in disbelief. A Tejan-Sie floated free-kick was met by Ahmet Rifat at the back post who forced a spectacular save from Tolfrey. Before from a Tejan-Sie corner, Addai collected the ball and delivered in a near perfect cross into the six yard box for Healey, who couldn’t believe the Kingstonian keeper kept his header out. From the rebound nevertheless, Healey conceivably should have scored from all but two yards, though somehow placed his effort wide.
With the game coming to an end, Addai again found the head of Healey inside the area, whose deft touch at the near post just evaded Laney at the far post. Then, after Tejan-Sie found substitute Karl Oliyide out left, his great by-line cross was met by the head of Kingstonian centre-back Bruce Hogg, who would have scored an own goal if it weren’t for the brilliance of Tolfrey. The Blues now have a great chance to bounce back with a win against Uxbridge in the Middlesex Cup on Wednesday evening.
Rob Tolfrey, Aaron Goode, George Wells, Tyron Smith → Lee O’Leary 73), Bruce Hogg, Alan Inns (c), Dan Bennett, Harold Odametey, Pelayo Pico Gomez, Andre McCollin (Gavin James 80), Malachi Hudson
Sam Page, Lee O’Leary, Gavin James, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Peter Dean
Wingate & Finchley:
Jack Metcalfe, Mark Goodman, Kyle Watson, Ahmet Rifat, Marc Weatherstone (c), Bradley Hewitt, Alex Addai, Tommy Tejan Sie, Billy Healey (Ola Sogbanmu 90), Dan Brown, Rob Laney (Karl Oliyide 87)
Ola Sogbanmu, Tarik Moore-Azille, Alfie Bartram, Karl Oliyide, Jack Read
WingateTV: Rob Laney