Wingate & Finchley partied like it was 1999 in the club’s first win at the Dripping Pan in 20 years - courtesy of first half goals from Charlie Ruff and Henry Ochieng.
The win helped the Blues climb out of the bottom three, a perfect way to mark manager Spencer Knight’s first league - and away - win in charge of the club.
After a minute’s silence as part of Remembrance Weekend, the Blues flew out of the traps and went ahead after three minutes. Pressure from midfield allowed the visitors to win the ball back high up the pitch and Ruff drove towards the edge of the area before firing into the near post to give Knight’s side a third minute lead.
The hosts attempted to create a leveller soon after but wayward passes and over hit through balls meant Shane Gore remained untested in the Wingate goal.
Further intricate play saw the Blues create space for Ochieng - who curled towards goal but saw his effort tipped around the post for a corner. However, the forward couldn’t be kept out much longer as - just after the half hour mark - a Luke Ifil cross was met at the back post by an unmarked Ochieng, who nodded home his first ever Blues goal to double the lead.
It should have been three just before half time as new signing, Alex Read and Ruff combined but the latter’s weak effort was easily saved.
In the second half, Gore’s goal was treated to an onslaught of chances, though he and his defence were largely able to cope with Lewes’ constant pressure.
However, the Blues were foiled just after an hour. After Oluwaseun Akinsanya failed to convert a one-on-one for the visitors, Lewes gained momentum and Charlie Coppola tapped into an empty net after Gore had made a smart low save.
Lewes’ biggest chance came on 80 minutes when a cross was perfectly placed across the six yard box but three players failed to get any meaningful contact on the ball and it trickled away to safety.
The dying embers saw Christian Forino-Joseph and Sean Grace - Wingate’s centre back duo - conspire to stop Lewes almost single handedly with blocks, clearances and brave headers.
Such solidity allowed the Blues to overcome their recent problem of throwing away leads and moved the side up to 18th in the Isthmian Premier League - with a busy month of games ahead.
Report by Nikhil Saglani