Wingate & Finchley came away from their match against league leaders Dorking Wanderers empty-handed following a 2-1 defeat.
Dorking took the lead a few minutes before the break but their advantage lasted less than a minute before Wingate grabbed an equaliser. The winner came just before the hour mark and despite late Wingate pressure, the visitors held on for the win.
The early stages of the match were relatively quiet in that no real chances were created, although Jason Prior for Dorking and Tommy Tejan-Sie saw shots go well wide.
The visitors were left scratching their heads as to how they hadn’t taken the lead a few minutes later.
A cross came in from the right hand side and Prior glanced a header onto the post. There was no respite for Wingate, however, as Dorking regrouped well and after some head tennis, Prior was set up again and this time struck the crossbar. The resulting clearance set up Elliot Buchanan for what should have been an easy finish, but the forward somehow headed wide.
The league leaders had another good opportunity on 24 minutes when Prior was denied by Shane Gore at the back post who made himself big and kept the attempt out.
On 41 minutes, Dorking’s first half pressure did finally pay off. A corner came in and despite the first attempt hitting a defender, the ball fell straight into the path of Isaac Philpott who poked home underneath Gore.
Yet, the old cliché about being at your most vulnerable after scoring seemed to ring true as less than a minute after the kickoff from the first goal, Anthony Mendy was played through on goal. Slavomir Huk managed to get it away from the striker but Charlie Cole’s neat layoff fell to Tanasheh Abrahams and the winger poked into the back of the net with Huk in no-man’s-land.
After a frenzied finish to the first period, the early knockings of the second were not played at such a high tempo even though both sides played some decent football.
Just before the hour mark, Wingate’s came unstuck once again. A cross came in from James McShane and neither Prior, who headed it down to set up his teammate, nor Buchanan who was able to stab past Gore, were picked up by a defender, leaving the Blues with an uphill struggle.
It was only for Gore that Dorking didn’t extend their lead; Buchanan, continuing to cause the Wingate defence problems, met a cross on the half-volley but Gore was able to make the save from close range.
The competitive spark that had been on show for large parts of the game began to fizzle out as the second half wore on and chances were few and far between, with both sides being largely limited to long range shots.
Wingate were able to put up one last period of pressure in the last few minutes and should have grabbed what would have been a valuable equaliser.
Reece Beckles-Richards was played in by Luke Ifil and his low cross towards Mendy slightly eluded the striker due to a good challenge by a Dorking defender, but the ball fell to Cole in the six-yard-box. With the striker poised to smash home and grab the headlines, Huk stood firm and heroically kept out Cole’s shot.
Added time signified the last chance for Wingate and even Gore came up for the last set of corners. Huk was forced to tip a header from his own defender over the bar but the goalmouth scramble a few minutes prior appeared to be the opportunity to grab a point.
This victory for Dorking puts them 13 points clear at the top whilst Wingate remain 3 points clear of safety.
Report by Jamie Grossman