Wingate & Finchley’s play-off hopes took a dent following a 1-2 defeat at the Maurice Rebak Stadium, to struggling Canvey Island. The hosts started the brightest. Rob Laney, enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges, played into Ben Pattie who struck with clout from close which was deflected away by George Allen.
The Blues fell behind inside nine minutes. George Sykes picked up possession deep, shimmied through challenges prior to getting his shot away – Sean Cronin initially blocked the first attempt – but could do nothing when the ball came back to the striker who finished above Shane Gore’s attempt to smother.
Tanasheh Abrahams looked for a speculative effort from 25-yards which sailed wide. Pattie’s deep free-kick from the inside right channel met Laney, whose flick on was guided towards Ahmet Rifat’s back-post run, which Simon Thomas inadvertently deflected away. Pattie’s curling free-kick beat the wall but found Conor Gough hurrying over to recover and hold on. Pattie again tried his luck curling towards the bottom corner from just outside the area, though he didn’t cause much trouble for the ‘keeper.
Abrahams’ long throw found Steve Wales who volleyed wide of the target. Despite Keith Rowland’s outfit having the majority of momentum, The Gulls, and Sykes, doubled their advantage. Latching onto Gough’s route one goal-kick, which dropped between Gore and Cronin, he slotted into an empty net three minutes before the break.
Spencer McCall dropped a perfectly-weighted pass inside the six-yard box which evaded Rifat by inches. Thomas’ dipping header forced Gore to tip onto the woodwork prior to McCall hooking the danger clear. Gough’s goal-kick inadvertently hit the back of Laney’s head falling to Reece Beckles-Richards, whose splitting pass through the centre saw Pattie charge in and dink the ball into the far corner of the net with 62 minutes played.
Cronin came close to the equaliser meeting Pattie’s dipping free-kick, but couldn’t direct his connection on target. Sykes had a low shot on the turn which took a deflection off Luke Ifil’s pressure, hitting the side-netting.
A late altercation found both sides reduced to ten men, ironically, substitutes Walter Figuiera and Harrison Chatting were given their marching orders. Wingate piled on late pressure, Beckles-Richards cut inside playing across to Tommy Tejan-Sie, who struck inches wide of the left-hand post as the hopes of rescuing the game faded.
Report by Khalid Karimullah