Ten-man Wingate and Finchley secured their first ever league point at Crown Meadow Stadium with a 1-1 draw against Lowestoft Town. Marc Charles-Smith’s ninth goal of the season gave Wingate an early lead but Travis Cole’s penalty just before the 10th minute pulled Lowestoft level. The first-half was marred by a bizarre red card for Blues captain Ahmet Rifat, who was adjudged to have headbutted Shaun Bammant, despite little reaction from the players and crowd.
The result makes it two draws on the bounce for a Wingate side edging towards securing a top-ten finish. A lightening start to the match from Wingate saw a flowing move allow Reece Beckles-Richards to square for Charles-Smith to tap the Blues into a 1-0 lead after six minutes.
But before the dedicated travelling support finished celebrating, Luke Ifil had given away a penalty at the other end, which was finished by Cole across goalkeeper Shane Gore to make it 1-1 in under 10 minutes. A couple of headers were sent over the bar by Sean Cronin and Beckles-Richards, but it was another head-related incident which sparked controversy.
An innocuous off-the-ball coming together between Rifat and Bammant was seen by the referee to have been violent conduct on Rifat’s part and the midfielder saw red immediately. The home side had the ball in the net just before half-time but the flag had already been raised for a foul on Gore. And the best chance of the game for either side saw Charles-Smith poke the ball straight at goalkeeper Elvijs Putnins from 7 yards out just before the whistle.
The second half saw little action, save for a superb last-ditch block from Cronin as Robert Eagles looked certain to stride through on goal, and the points were shared after a close game. The Blues now travel to Dorking on the 19th April, before the reverse fixture at home on the 21st
Report by Andy Gerlis
Sent off 37