Wingate & Finchley were left to rue numerous bounces of the ball off the woodwork, as a slender defeat at Leatherhead deepened relegation fears.
The hosts took the lead in the 15th minute, turning over possession in the Blues’ half, for Shaun Okojie to slot home the resulting low cross; the striker doing well to reach the cross that was behind him.
Leatherhead had deserved the lead, but soon it was Wingate’s time to dominate. Carl Stewart volleyed over from 18 yards as the visitors looked to get back on level terms. Charlie Cole was sent away down the right side, but as the angle became tighter he pulled the shot across goal narrowly beyond the far post.
Tanasheh Abrahams hit the post with a header from a deep Luke Ifil cross. In the 31st minute Cole then hit the post after he had pressed well to win the ball on the edge of the box, and for the only time in the game Wingate earning a favourable bounce as the ball rolled in to the back of the net. The woodwork denied the Blues soon afterwards when a Reece Beckles cross beat the stranded keeper but bounced to safety.
Leatherhead made a formidable start to the second half, but with a few desperate blocks from the Blues defence, they made no impact on Shane Gore.
The woodwork came to frustrate Wingate again, when Beckles’ cross was met by Cole, whose header from close range hit the bar and bounced down onto the goalline.
However Leatherhead took the lead midway through the half, as Rifat and Njie combined to head beyond Gore from a free kick, the ball looping agonisingly in off the woodwork.
Cronin and Hutchings both headed over from late corners, and Gore saved well from Izunna Ikebuasi at the other end.
Report by Paul Lerman