Wingate and Finchley extended their run of draws to four with a 0-0 stalemate at home to Harlow Town. Back-to-back 1-1 draws with Staines Town, Dulwich Hamlet and Havant &Waterlooville either side of the New Year were preceded by a resounding 10-1 win against AFC Hayes, leaving the Blues unbeaten in 5.
One has to go back to March 2016 for Wingate’s last 0-0, which came away at now-relegated Lewes. But Keith Rowland will be pleased to see his side start 2017 unbeaten following a December that saw the Blues win just one game out of seven. Ex-Reading defender Ibrahima Sonko had the first chance of the game but saw his header steered away from goal by Claudiu Vilcu. Sean Cronin deflected Craig Pope’s shot into the side netting but neither goal was really threatened during the first half.
Rob Laney and Jordan Gibbons both came close with half-chances and the former had the ball in the net at one point - albeit a long time after the offside flag had been raised. Wingate’s best chance of the half came from a loose Layne Eadie backpass that Reece Beckles-Richards latched on to but David Hughes was out like a shot to gather the ball before any damage could be done.
Had Laney placed his 49th minute header either side of Hughes the home side might have taken the lead, but the striker could only divert Ryan Sellers’ cross into the goalkeeper’s hands. Bamba Ngamb fired wide from the edge of the box while Gibbons did well to prevent Khale Da Costa’s shot going anywhere other than Shane Gore’s gloves.
The best chances of the game came in the dying stages. Wingate’s latest addition Afalabi Obafemi almost opened his account with just two minutes left, but Hughes pulled off an almost impossible save to keep the scores level. Backs-to-the-wall defending ensured Leon Antoine and Khale Da Costa’s close range efforts didn’t end up in Gore’s net and the referee eventually called time on an exasperating match.
The scruff of the games’ neck remained firmly un-grabbed throughout by either side, but Wingate will be confident of tasting victory once again when they face lowly Burgess Hill on Tuesday.
WingateTV: Ahmet Rifat Post Harlow Town: HERE
Report by Andy Gerlis