Wingate & Finchley were left with feelings of frustration after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Didcot Town ensured early elimination from the Emirates FA Cup.
The Blues took initiative early on after a tight opening nine minutes. Ola Williams’ ball in arrived at the feet of Tommy Tejan-Sie, whose attempted shot fell to Reece Beckles-Richards to strike wide. Lewis Putman’s 30-yard free-kick found its way on target, yet Leigh Bedwell made the stop eight minutes on. Beckles-Richards' audacious lob from 25-yards failed to dip on time and found the roof of the net on 22 minutes.
The minnows took the lead three minutes later. Brett Gardner kept his cool after bursting through and slotted inside the near-post. 11 minutes on, Putman headed Beckles-Richards' corner towards Sean Cronin, whose ferocious volley was blocked by the head of Adam Learoyd to end the half.
Eight minutes into the restart, Putman drove into the box and fired across goal which forced Bedwell into a critical save for the visitors. Putman's inside right free-kick on 56 minutes zipped past Bedwell's right-hand post, with Keith Rowland's men continuing to attempt to draw level.
That persistence proved fruitless on 62 minutes as The Gunners doubled their lead. Gardner played it out wide to Sam Barder whose cross found Callum McNish to tap in from a yard out. Tejan-Sie's low strike from the inside left was straight at Bedwell on 65 minutes and ten minutes on, Marc Charles-Smith was denied by Luke Carnell whose last-ditch challenge prevented the striker from shooting.
Rob Laney headed just wide from Marc Weatherstone's cross on 76 minutes, before the north Londoners made a late rally. Barder was adjudged to have handballed inside the area for Cronin to fire above Bedwell's reach two minutes from time.
And although the away side were reduced to ten-men in stoppage-time following McNish's dismissal, a grandstand finish couldn't come to fruition.
Report by Khalid Karimullah