Wingate & Finchley suffered a third home defeat of the season, at the hands of newly-promoted Lewes FC. Despite having the better of the first half, the Blues struggled to create chances after the break and eventually fell to a James Hammond winner just before the hour mark.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts on just five minutes when Lewis Putman, seeking his first home goal, wriggled around two Lewes defenders on the edge of the box before taking aim with his left foot. However, his effort took a heavy deflection, making it easy for Lewis Carey to smother. A long, quiet spell ensued with neither side able to use the ball effectively - and it took until the half hour mark for another noteworthy chance to fashion. Hammond took aim with a rasping effort from 25 yards out but Shane Gore, consistent as ever, acrobatically parried the midfielder's effort over the crossbar.
New Blues signing, Samir Bihmoutine came closest to opening the scoring just before half time. After receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he took aim across goal but saw his low drive trickle just wide of Carey’s left-hand post.
However, the second half was a different story. Lewes came out of the traps quicker, stronger and sharper. Three minutes into the half, Gore was yet again required to bail out the Blues, rushing off his line and using his legs to stop Omarr Lawson’s effort. The visitors then came even closer on 51 minutes when Jonté Smith missed the chance of the game. After good work down the Lewes right, the forward found himself unmarked at the back post but somehow struck the post with the goal gaping - and Wingate were able to see the ball out to safety.
But Keith Rowland’s side didn’t learn from their errors as they were finally beaten. Leon Redwood worked his way past Ola Williams on the Lewes left and crossed for Hammond to head over Gore and into the back of the net to put his side ahead.
Wingate’s best crack at an equaliser then fell to substitute, Tim Monsheju. A Reece Beckles-Richards cross from the right wing allow Monsheju to creep in front of his defender and flick an effort towards goal but Carey was quick to tip the goal bound strike onto the post and away for a corner, which Marc Weatherstone headed well over.
The final chance of the game fell to the hosts as a scramble in the box saw the ball fall to the feet of Marc Charles-Smith, who took a snapshot towards goal but Carey - who seemed to be caught by surprise - was grateful to see it strike him in the midriff and he was able to hold. It was another disappointing afternoon for Rowland’s side, whose momentum was halted by a two-week gap between games. They have the chance to turnaround their fortunes with a trip to Bishops Stortford on Tuesday night.
Report by Nikhil Saglani