Wingate & Finchley displayed tremendous fight and resilience in the non-league north London derby at The Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, coming from 1-0 down to take a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw – but felt aggrieved not to finish with more. The visitors started the brightest and created the opening inside five minutes. Nathan Mavila bombarded down the left finding Rob Laney whose header arrived straight at Joe Wright.
Elliot Benyon latched onto a defensive misjudgement prior to attempting a lob over Luke Sheldrick, but the ball sailed well wide of the left post on 21 minutes. 26 minutes saw Ben Pattie’s inside right free-kick caught low by Wright – who had to have full concentration to hold. Reece Beckles-Richards’ low strike flashed wide across goal with 35 minutes played as Keith Rowland’s men were attacking with the impetus.
Nevertheless, it was The Towners who took the lead five minutes before the break. Mario Noto’s corner arrived towards Benyon at the far-post who pulled away and prodded in.
Wingate came out with real purpose and almost found an equaliser, five minutes following the restart. Mavila’s tricky run and low drilled cross came close to resulting in Darren Purse turning the ball into his own net, forcing a superb reaction stop from Wright – followed by Sean Cronin heading inches over. Mavila broke away and found Cronin, who came within a whisker of striking into the top of the net from 25-yards two minutes later.
At the other end, with 70 minutes on the clock, Ryan Blackman’s cross flashed wide across the six-yard box with the home side unable to capitalise on a dangerous breakaway. In the 79th minute, The Blues were awarded a penalty. Marc Charles-Smith was taken down inside the area for Cronin to step up and fire with menace – which Wright guessed correctly to tip onto the upright.
A deserved equaliser did arrive on 86 minutes. Beckles-Richards broke away and placed a wonderful cross across the six-yard box for Afolabi Obafemi to make his mark and slide home.
Ahmet Rifat’s low show was saved by Wright on 92 minutes – and the men from Summers Lane could have taken all three points. Beckles-Richards found himself with space inside the area, and it was only resolute defending which denied the striker a winner in the final seconds with Wright beaten.
WingateTV: Afolabi Obafemi post Enfield Town: HERE
Report by Khalid Karimullah