A youthful Wingate & Finchley side salvaged a draw from 2-0 down away at Dorking Wanderers. Having played just 48 hours prior at Leatherhead, and the under-23 side playing the night before; Keith Rowland’s side had to dig deep to overcome a tough challenge against a hard-working Dorking outfit. It was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges. Reece Beckles-Richards’ cross in the second minute was cleared just before it reached Ned Clarke. A corner ten minutes later was headed over by Rob Laney, who was attempting to glance his header across goal.
However, the Blues were and a lapse in concentration led to Daniel Walker feeding Tom Tolfrey inside the area and the attacker curled his effort into the far corner, past a helpless Shane Gore. Beckles-Richards went close twice after the opening goal. First, his free kick was held at the near post by Slavomir Huk before his mazy run, beating three men, but Huk came out again to save.
The hosts’ next chance came on 34 minutes when Walker’s shot was cleared off the line by Jake Eales. Obafemi went close at the other end when his deflected shot from the edge of the box trickled inches wide of Huk’s right-hand post. The corner was punched off the head of Rob Laney by Huk. On the stroke of half time, the hosts doubled their lead. James McShane received the ball on the edge of the area, took a touch and curled a left footed effort across goal, off the far post and into the back of the net – earning applause from even the away supporters.
After the break, the Blues wrestled control of the game and on 52 minutes, their hard work paid dividends. Eadie played in Clarke, who held up the ball and laid it back off to Eadie – who struck across goal and got the Blues back into the game. However, the hosts still had their chances on the break. Sam Beard fired well over the bar from the edge of the box when the ball fell to him from a deep cross.
The Blues’ best chance of an equaliser fell to Luke Alfano. Obafemi played the young midfielder in on goal but he blazed over with his left foot from 10 yards out. At the other end, Beard had another chance but his shot from the edge of the box was superbly tipped wide by Gore.
Clarke continuing to pose a threat up front for Rowland’s side and his shot from 20 yards out dipped just wide of the far post. However, he didn’t have to wait long for his goal. Luke Ifil and Beckles-Richards exchanged a quick one-two and the former’s first time cross was headed across goal by Clarke and sent the visiting supporters into raptures. Tolfrey had a chance for his brace, and the winner, but fired wide – similarly to Beard – with Gore left helpless rushing out of his goal.
With ten minutes to go, Isaac Ebelebe was on the end of a horrible, late challenge and Dorking were lucky not to be down to 10 men. However, this led to the game petering out slightly and the sides had to settle for a point each – they meet again on Saturday at 12:30pm for Wingate’s final home game of the 2017-18 season.
Report by Nikhil Saglani