Wingate & Finchley sent rivals Hendon home empty-handed following a magnificent dead-ball situation by Steve Wales from 30-yards, which secured the Blues’ first three points of the season.
Keith Rowlands’ side could have taken an 11th minute lead after Rob Hastings freed himself inside the area being picked out by Rob Laney, but his low attempt was kept out at the near-post by Berkley Laurencin. At the other end, former Summers Lane attacker Karl Oliyide raced through on goal, as he saw his shot denied by the frame of Shane Gore.
Gore was needed again, this time to rush out of his area to save down low from Finbarr Robins’ placed attempt. With Wingate’s ‘keeper in inspired form, it didn’t take long until the hosts took a deserved lead after 33 minutes. A flowing-move led by Ahmet Rifat ended with Laney earning a free-kick, which Wales duly stepped-up and despite a vague touch by Laurencin, the ball flew into the top left corner of the net.
A carbon-copy save from Gore stopped Dale Binns, Hastings dived in to meet Luke Ifil’s precision cross but headed straight at Laurencin. Just before the break, Ryan Sellers on the other flank found Laney who also headed wide on the stretch.
A quieter contest in the second-half, Laney headed Ifil’s chipped pass through the centre wide with his back to goal. Oliyide’s central shot from near 20-yards rolled into the palms of Gore. Despite The Greens struggling to break down a stern defence, Binns had their best chance fall his way but could only fire well over from inside the penalty area.
It was a hard-fought, well-earned win for the North Finchley outfit, who can take pride in the way they battled through adversity. All attention now turns quickly onto Tuesday evening’s game at AFC Sudbury.
WingateTV Rowland, Rifat & Wales Post Hendon: HERE
Report by Khalid Karimullah