Wingate & Finchley’s 12 game unbeaten run ground to a halt after a shock 5-1 home defeat to local rivals, Enfield Town. With both sides only separated by a point, though the hosts have two games in hand, both sets of fans were expecting a tight, nervous affair. But any chance of a close game was blown out of the water within 12 minutes. Bobby Devyne’s fine 25 yard strike from a central position swerved away from Shane Gore to put the visitors ahead, before eventual man of the match, Harry Ottaway found himself in oceans of space to find the back of the net from six yards out; after a clever cut back from Micky Parcell.
Former Wingate man, Karl Oliyide almost made it 3-0 on 20 minutes but Tanasheh Abrahams slid to prevent an open goal after the Enfield debutant had rounded Gore. But he didn’t have to wait long to get his goal, breaking with pace and exchanging a one-two with Ottaway before firing first time past Gore.
Wingate’s first chance came on 38 minutes when Tommy Tejan-Sie fired straight at Nathan McDonald, before Reece Beckles-Richard shot tamely towards Enfield’s number one three minutes later. Just before the break, Oliyide had a cleverly chipped goal disallowed for offside after a high line from the hosts paid off.
Keith Rowland made a double substitution at half time, bringing on Monday night’s hero, Ben Pattie and Luke Ifil. The former’s introduction paid off within 10 minutes, with the former QPR man – as his chant will tell you – fired into the bottom corner with his weaker right foot to reduce the deficit.
With the hosts now on the up, fans began to dream of North London’s version of Istanbul. But as all football fans know, there are far more nightmares than dreams and Claudiu Vilcu’s sliding challenge on Oliyide gave the referee no alternative but to award a penalty, which was duly dispatched by Billy Crook for 4-1.
To rub salt into the wounds, Ottaway ran through the heart of the Wingate spine, pulled off a Cruyff turn, and fired home for five – leaving both sets of fans shocked. Rowland and the players will be keen to get back onto the pitch on Tuesday night, where the Blues face Met Police in the London Senior Cup Quarter Final, to right the many wrongs from Saturday afternoon.
Report by Nikhil Saglani