Wingate & Finchley’s play-off hopes took another dent, following a frustrating 1-0 defeat to a determined Leatherhead outfit battling relegation. But as has been the league this campaign, a win would have seen Keith Rowland’s side finish the day inside the top four. After a quiet opening 20 minutes, Steve Wales’ free-kick sailed wide, prior to Daniel Carr breaking to the inside right channel looping the ball over Shane Gore, but seeing his attempt trickle wide. Gore pulled off a world-class palm-stinging stop to tip Jerome Federico’s piledriver from making its way into the top right.
Ahmet Rifat sent his volley from Wales’ corner towards goal, but couldn’t guide on target. Reece Beckles-Richards latched onto Wales’ throughball over the top before being dragged back by Joe Howe inside the area – nothing was given and ultimately fired a loose connection on target which made for an easy catch by Louie Wells. Straight at the other end, The Tanners took the lead with half an hour played.
D’Sean Theobalds was given time and space to pick his spot and find the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Luke Ifil looked for a response, curling comfortably at Wells. Claudiu Vilcu’s low free-free was parried away by Wells in the visitor’s best chance of the half. With the break imminent, Carr beat the offside trap and rounded Gore, only to place off the bar.
Vilcu popped into Wales, whose sublime first touch saw him through on goal, until Howe recovered and cleared. Ifil broke away, laid back into Alfie Young who hung his cross in the air for Rob Laney to head inches over from a central position. Kadell Daniel’s in-swinging free-kick angled just wide of the near-post with Gore in cover. Daniel turned Young and fired across goal, which Federico was inches away from turning in.
The Blues will be looking to quickly put this result behind them as basement strugglers, Grays Athletic, visit the Maurice Rebak Stadium next Saturday.
Report by Khalid Karimullah