Rapai, Cronin (p)
In stark contrast to Saturday’s excitement, Wingate and Finchley’s 2-2 draw with Bishop’s Stortford was decided in the first half on Tuesday night.
Saturday saw both sides enter injury time level at 0-0, with the final score 2-2 after 111 minutes of football but, despite matching score-lines, Tuesday’s result could not have been more different.
Behind after just two minutes, Wingate fought back to equalise before a red card and penalty saw them go 2-1 up with just 20 minutes played.
But Stortford levelled five minutes before the break and Wingate’s best efforts weren’t enough to create a second-half winner. It took more than 90 minutes to break the deadlock at the weekend, but just two for Stortford to smash it on Tuesday.
Fans had barely found their seats before Luke Callander headed a ball back across goal and past goalkeeper Shane Gore to put the visitors 1-0 up.
But a stubborn fightback from Wingate saw Luke Ifil release Irnti Rapai inside the box and, though his initial effort was saved, his follow-up slammed into the roof of the net to pull the Blues level 13 minutes in.
And just 6 minutes later, last-man Sam Robbins clattered Rob Laney over inside the box, earning a red card and giving away a penalty for his troubles. And there was no doubt as top-scorer Sean Cronin stepped up and scored his 10th Wingate goal of the season to make it 2-1.
But Callander got on the end of another cross after 40 minutes, this time finding the back of the net with his foot to make it 2-2.
Charlie Cole came close with a free-kick, but also inadvertently deflected Ahmet Rifat’s second-half shot over as the Blues searched for an equaliser which, despite facing 10 men for over an hour, never arrived.
In injury time Recce Beckles had a goalbound shot blocked, and Cronin headed inches wide from a deep corner. The result means Wingate have now gone 12 games without a win since the turn of the year, something they hope will change when high-flying Worthing visit on Saturday.
Report by Andrew Gerlis