Wingate & Finchley began 2019 with a painful 4-0 defeat at home to league leaders and local rivals Haringey Borough.
Despite the end result, it was definitely Wingate who started the more brightly and their intent to attack Haringey was evident from the first few minutes when Charlie Ruff’s outside-of-the-boot pass to Layne Eadie caused problems in the Haringey defence, only for Wingate’s left winger to fire over from inside the box.
Wingate continued to largely control possession in the early stages and nearly fashioned another good opportunity; Ruff played it to Tommy Tejan-Sie who laid it off for David Manu in space however the winger took too long and his eventual attempt was blocked.
After the 20 minute mark, the visitors began to grow into the game and Ralston Gabriel saw two attempts saved well by Gore.
Whilst it had been an even and well-fought match in the first period, the tide completely changed on 26 minutes. Eadie came in for a tackle and the referee deemed it a red card offence, sending the Blues man off.
Following the red card, Haringey wasted no time going about securing a lead – a ball over the top was met by Rakim Richards and who took a few touches before firing past Shane Gore.
Gore was called into action on a few more occasions towards the end of the half with Gabriel’s powerful attempt well kept out, in addition to an impressive double save in added time.
Haringey were in control immediately as the second half began and despite a lack of chances in the first 15 minutes, they dominated possession as they looked to make an opening.
However, the visitors made their first chance of the half matter with Anthony McDonald heading into the bottom corner from a good cross.
As the half progressed, Wingate were simply unable to cope with the one-man disadvantage and, coupled with the quality Haringey had on display, this meant that there was little hope in the Blues camp of an unlikely comeback. The visitors’ aforementioned quality was clear to see in their third goal, as Scott Durojayie released a strike from 30 yards which found the right hand corner perfectly.
Minutes after the third goal, Wingate had their most clear-cut chance of the match. Substitute Carl Stewart was fed on the right wing by Manu but his low strike was directed narrowly past the post.
In the closing stages of the match, it was only for Wingate’s star man Gore that it didn’t turn into an embarrassing score; he pulled out multiple great saves, the best of which included a double save from a long range strike and then to prevent a tap-in, as well as an unbelievable stop from Joel Nouble’s volley.
The Haringey onslaught didn’t let up at all and even in the last few minutes, Sam Tring made a goal-line clearance and Gore made two more super saves.
Wingate’s misery was compounded in added time, with centre-back Mark Kirby getting forward and heading home from inside the box.
Whilst that victory was Haringey’s 11th in 12 league games, Wingate will certainly hope that this result was not an indicator for how they will perform in the coming year.
Report by Jamie Grossman