Wingate & Finchley endured a frustrating afternoon at Nyewood Lane after slipping to a 4-2 defeat to Bognor Regis Town - despite taking a lead twice either side of the break.
The Rocks started on the front foot within three minutes. Calvin Davies played Dan Smith through, who struck wide with clout.
Four minutes on, the north Londoners ensured the first blow. Loic Hernandez exchanged with Charlie Ruff, prior to laying it off to Charlie Cole on the inside left, who fired across from outside the area into the bottom corner to continue his red-hot form.
Shane Gore had to be in five-star motion in the 14th minute to keep out Jimmy Muitt’s strike towards the bottom left corner. From the resulting set-piece, the hosts equalised on 15 minutes. A short taken corner resulted in Bradley Lethbridge whipping a cross to the back-post for Smith, who headed across goal into the bottom left.
Lethbridge, from wide left, flashed a strike wide on 22 minutes. 15 minutes on, Muitt broke to the inside right and struck with menace across goal, which Gore superbly palmed away to his right. In the second minute of stoppage-time, Davies' clipped cross picked out Lethbridge to head over on the back foot.
Six minutes into the restart, Reece Mitchell - introduced at the break - beat Joe Tomlinson and floated a cross to Rob Laney, who rose to power a header into the back of the net to hand The Blues another early lead. Four minutes later, it was all-square. Lethbridge's skimmed flick-on evaded Gore's grip, with Muitt taking advantage to convert with aplomb.
Mason Walsh took off on a mazy surge and picked out Lethbridge, whose shot deflected wide on 58 minutes. Gore again acrobatically dived to keep out Muitt's low drive a minute later and on the hour mark, Tomlinson's cross was headed over by Lethbridge from close. Two minutes on at the other end, Cole looked to take advantage of his momentum when he fired a snapshot wide.
In the 67th minute, the visitors fortunes slipped away. Walsh initially forced a defensive mishap, before placing the loose ball inside the near-post to take the lead for the first time. Nine minutes from the end, Walsh's corner arrived to Tommy Scutt after some ping-pong, who finished low from close.
And Glen Little's side left West Sussex wondering how the result came to fruition.
Report by Khalid Karimullah