Wingate and Finchley battled for a 2-2 draw in torrid conditions at home to local rivals Hendon. Relentless rain made it tough for both sides to build up a rhythm but Niko Muir gave Hendon the lead from the penalty spot at the end of the first half. A quick turnaround in the second-half saw Wingate take the lead with almost 40 minutes left, but a second Niko Muir penalty saw the points shared.
The result means Wingate have still not lost to Hendon inside 90 minutes in the last eight games against their rivals - a run stretching back to January 2016. The rain was a huge factor in the first half and almost caused Reece Beckles-Richards’ early shot to squirm under Tom Lovelock, but the goalkeeper recovered in time to stop it on the line.
Ashley Nathaniel saw his shot cleared off Wingate’s line after some post-corner ping-pong inside the box and it seemed like the weather was to about to scupper any chances of a first half goal. But after Layne Eadie’s foul inside the box, Muir put Hendon 1-0 up with a penalty into the far corner, despite Shane Gore’s best efforts.
A lightning-quick start to the second-half saw Irnti Rapai latch on to a loose back-pass and roll Wingate’s equaliser underneath Lovelock. And the turnaround was complete when Marc-Charles Smith got his head to Luke Ifil’s cross and looped Wingate into a 2-1 lead. But there was half an hour left on the clock when Sean Cronin gave away Hendon’s second penalty and this time Muir put it straight down the middle to pull the visitors level.
Cronin almost made amends with a curling effort just over the bar from outside the box in the closing stages but the honours were shared at the end of a well-fought match.
Wingate’s busy month continues with a trip to Burgess Hill on Thursday before a match at home to Kingstonian on Saturday.
Report by Andy Gerlis