A solitary Muhammadu Faal header condemned Wingate & Finchley to a rare home defeat, continuing the club’s poor run of form in recent weeks. After Thursday night’s loss at Burgess Hill Town, the Blues seemed to struggle to galvanise their energy ahead of a tough game against a well-organised Kingstonian side.
Afolabi Obafemi had the Blues’ first chance of the game, when he capitalised on poor defensive concentration and stole the ball inside the Kingstonian penalty area, but couldn’t muster more than a flick towards goal and K’s keeper Rob Tolfrey was able to gather. Minutes later, Greg Cundle had the visitors’ first shot on goal, but fired a long range attempt straight at Shane Gore. At the other end, Ahmet Rifat attempted an audacious half-volley from 30 yards out but saw his effort fly inches over the crossbar.
Cundle was once again the K’s most likely goalscorer, getting in behind the Wingate defence with relative ease before shooting straight at Gore, who stood up well to parry the midfielder’s effort for a corner. The K’s towering striker, Faal, found himself in on goal just before the half hour mark, but Sean Cronin got back heroically to prevent an opening goal.
Wingate’s best move of the game saw Obafemi, Freddy Moncur, Reece Beckles-Richards and Luke Ifil combine. The latter’s cross just evaded Marc-Charles Smith inside the area and the visitors cleared for a corner.
A double substitution from Keith Rowland at half-time almost paid dividends immediately. Rob Laney, fresh from the bench, flicked on a long ball into the path of Obafemi, who raced in on goal but could only fire an effort straight at the legs of Tolfrey with the goal gaping.
Another smart move from the Blues’ attack saw Beckles-Richards’ shot blocked inside the area, with the K’s defence standing strong to prevent the hosts. However, it was the Wingate defence who let their guard down. A powerful free-kick was whipped into the area from the left-wing and Faal, by far the tallest player on the pitch, barely had to jump to nod past Gore and into the back of the net.
A quiet spell followed, with the hosts pushing for an equaliser but coming up short against a solid defence. Ben Pattie was introduced with 20 minutes to go and curled in three dangerous set-pieces, which were well managed by the visitors.
The final chance of the game fell to Kingstonian’s Chris Arthur, who took aim from 30 yards out with a free-kick but it was straight at Gore. The defeat kept Wingate & Finchley in 9th position, who have struggled to muster many wins since January.
Report by Nikhil Saglani