Wingate & Finchley laboured to a 1-1 home draw to Hayes & Yeading in the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round.
The Blues took the lead early on through a superb goal from Roman Michael-Percil and should have extended their lead before half time.
Hayes grew back into the game in the second half and equalised just past the hour when Phil Roberts reacted quickly to Shane Gore’s parry.
As has often been the case this season, Wingate started the match positively and it took just 9 minutes for the breakthrough to come.
Luke Ifil’s pass found Michael-Percil who struck it first time and beat keeper Jack Smith with an unstoppable curler, earning his first Blues goal.
Eoin McKeown replaced Tage Kennedy after 23 minutes due to the winger picking up an injury, and the substitute had a great chance to double Wingate’s advantage when he latched onto a loose Hayes pass, however his first touch let him down and Smith was able to save his eventual shot comfortably.
Wingate did continue to apply pressure after the break as they searched for the killer second goal that has seemed to elude them so far this season.
Alan Fleming and Michael-Percil had shots early in the second period, with the latter hitting the woodwork after being tipped over by Smith.
Once again, the Blues were punished for their lack of killer instinct just past the hour mark, and after Hayes had failed to take advantage of Sean Grace’s poor clearance minutes earlier, Roberts latched onto Gore’s parry from Johnville Renee’s shot, lashing home from a few yards out.
The match was in the balance following the equaliser, with end-to-end football being played in the latter part of the second half despite a lack of clear-cut chances.
Substitute William Dupray came closest for Wingate, chipping a shot goalwards but Smith refused to be beaten again, batting it over at the near post.
The visitors nearly grabbed a winner with 10 minutes remaining, yet Elliott Buchanan was unable to convert at the end of a counter-attack.
The replay will be played at the Skyex Community Stadium on Tuesday 29th October, with the Second Qualifying Round draw giving the winners a home tie against St Ives or Soham.
Report by Jamie Grossman