Wingate & Finchley are now without a win in five games after they lost at play-off contenders Dulwich Hamlet, writes Andy Gerlis.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Dulwich 2 Wingate & Finchley 1
Tuesday, 15 March, 2016
The 584 strong crowd was the largest Wingate have played in front of this season, 82 more than the previous record set last Saturday at Tonbridge Angels, but first half goals from Dulwich’s Dean Mcdonald and Ashley Carew meant Aron Pollock’s first goal for the Blues only came as a consolation.
Keith Rowland’s men dominated for most of the second half, but to no avail, the result leaving Wingate 13th in the Ryman Premier League, three points above Saturday’s opponents Leatherhead.
McDonald smashed home the opener after 18 minutes when Wingate failed to clear a corner, before Carew doubled Dulwich’s lead just four minutes later, finding the bottom corner of Chris Haigh’s goal with a sublime 30-yard free-kick.
Alex Addai nearly hit back instantly for Wingate, but his powerful shot was palmed away by Preston Edwards. Both Addai and Karl Oliyide flashed crosses agonisingly across the face of goal before Carew popped another, closer free-kick inches over the bar. But though neither side created any clear cut chances, Wingate found themselves 2-0 down at the break.
However, it didn’t take long for Keith Rowland’s side to get their rhythm following the restart. Pollock was on hand to make it 2-1 three minutes in to the second half, tapping the ball into an empty net after Edwards had done excellently to parry a point-blank Ahmet Rifat header.
Although a loose backpass eight minutes later allowed Damian Scannall to slide a shot past Haigh, only to see it bounce back off the foot of the post. But the goalkeeper, on loan at the Blues from Braintree Town, rapidly got back to his feet to stop McDonald from tapping in the rebound. The resulting counter-attack ended with Alfie Bartram firing a shot that Edwards did well to save with his legs.
A determined Addai came close with another shot and another cross but, though the winger put in a fine performance, luck was not on his side. Ola Sogbanmu may have had Wingate’s final chance in injury time had he elected to shoot, but his touch when through on goal allowed the defence to clear the danger.
Despite the loss, the Blues will take heart from their strong second half fightback, but they will have to hope that their confidence on Saturday matches that of a Leatherhead side that just last weekend ended a run of seven winless games.
Wingate and Finchley:
Haigh, Stevenson, Foley (Goodman 83), Rifat (C), Pollock, Fisher, Addai, Bartram, Healey, Sogbanmu, Oliyide
Edwards, Nelson, Brown (Hibbert 76), James (C), Drage, Sankofa, Clunis, Carew, McDonald (Moss 70), Scannall (Murrell-Williamson 84), Dixon
WingateTV with Alex Addai: