Wingate & Finchley’s four game unbeaten run was brought to a crashing end by the Bostik Premier League’s FA Cup heroes, Leatherhead on Sunday afternoon. Despite a valid second half attempt, four first half goals were more than enough for the hosts to see off Keith Rowland’s side, who were without midfielders Ahmet Rifat and Tommy Tejan-Sie.
A fairly even start saw both sides unable to penetrate either defence. A Yannis Ambroisine header from a sixth minute free kick flew wide of Shane Gore’s left hand post, but there was very little action to note until the hosts took the lead. The opening goal arrived on 24 minutes when Sam Clohessy, from the right hand side of the area, cut the ball back for Jack Midson to fire home from 10 yards out.
Gore, playing through a thigh injury, was forced into a save two minutes later from D’Sean Theobalds’ long distance effort before the hosts doubled their lead on 29 minutes. Scorer of the opener, Midson's cross from the right wing was guided home well by Liam Nash - on loan from League One side, Gillingham. However, this saw the start of Wingate’s capitulation as three minutes leader, Leatherhead were 3-0 up. Nash, who caused Wingate’s defence problems all game, drove at the defence and saw his shot from the edge of the area deflect off Carl Pearce and past Gore for his second of the afternoon.
It took 38 minutes for Wingate to have their first shot on goal, but Nathan Mavila could only head Ola Williams’ cross wide of the left hand post. Leatherhead were on hand to punish the miss as they went up the other end through Clohessy, who crossed for Nash to head home his hat-trick and effectively put the game to bed.
Wingate went into half time knowing they had to keep a clean sheet in the second half. However, Theobalds nearly made it 5-0 just eight minutes after the break. Luckily for Wingate, his shot from inside the area cannoned off Gore's left hand post and away to safety. Two minutes later, Sammy Moore thought he’d grabbed the fifth but his volleyed effort from the penalty spot was ruled out for offside.
A minute later, Wingate substitute Marc Charles-Smith also found the back of the net but was harshly adjudged to have been in an offside position from Reece Beckles-Richards’ pinpoint cross and the score remained 4-0.
Neither side had telling chances in the last 20 minutes and the closest either side came to scoring was when Afolabi Obafemi’s header flew straight into the hands of Zaki Oualah.
Wingate were left to rue a poor first half and travelled home empty handed, with a journey to local rivals Enfield Town awaiting them on Tuesday evening; giving the Blues a quick turnaround in order to try and right the wrongs of the weekend.
Report by Nikhil Saglani