Wingate & Finchley began 2018 in fine fashion; with a narrow win at rivals, Hendon FC. Quentin Monville scored the only goal of the game in the first half and Wingate held on resolutely to take all three points back to Summers Lane. In a game lacking clear-cut chances, Reece Beckles-Richards came close to opening the scoring when he flashed an effort across goal after a mazy run after 17 minutes. At the other end, former Blue, Niko Muir saw his shot saved by Shane Gore after the Hendon man had won the ball smartly off Sean Cronin.
On 38 minutes, Wingate took the lead when a Hendon corner was cleared out to Claudiu Vilcu. The centre half played a first time ball down the line to Beckles-Richards who, in turn, found Monville on the edge of the area. The winger’s first touch was extremely heavy but he managed to slide in and force the ball over the line, past Tom Lovelock. The Hendon keeper was injured in the process and was forced off.
Both Josh Walker and Ashley Nathaniel-George had attempts on the Wingate goal before half time but neither could steer their efforts on target, with both going wide of Gore’s right hand post. At the end of the half, Marc Charles-Smith nearly doubled Wingate’s lead with an acrobatic effort – but it landed harmlessly over Dan Purdue’s crossbar.
The second half saw Hendon pressing high up the pitch and allowing Wingate space to counter attack. Charley Barker took aim from outside the area on the hour mark but couldn’t direct his effort goalwards before firing narrowly wide from the edge of the area with a smart volley. Matt Ball jinked his way past two defenders but was met by the brick wall of Gore in the Wingate net. Monville had a chance to double his – and Wingate’s – tally but saw his header pushed over the crossbar by Purdue. A free-kick was awarded to Keith Rowland’s side with 10 minutes to go but Luke Ifil could only blaze wide.
In the final minute of stoppage time, a scramble led to hearts in Wingate mouths but Cronin and Vilcu combined to clear – and Wingate held on to win a second consecutive league game at Silver Jubilee Park, by the exact same score line as last season’s win.
WingateTV: Shane Gore & Quentin Monville post Hendon: HERE
Report by Nikhil Saglani