Wingate and Finchley produced a stunning late comeback to beat Lowestoft Town 4-3 and move to within a point of the play-off spots after a breathless Bostik Premier League game at the Maurice Rebak Stadium. Town were 3-1 up and cruising at the break, before Wingate scored three second half goals, including a 95th minute winner from Ben Pattie, to snatch all three points at the death.
Things were going to plan for the visitors when Harvey Hodd broke the deadlock five minutes in. A cross from the right was not dealt with in the area, but found Hodd, who cut onto his left and finished across goal. That early lead was doubled on 15 minutes when a corner was flicked on at the near post and headed in by Shaun Bammant at the far post.
Wingate got back into the game on the half hour mark courtesy of Reece Beckles-Richards. The winger ran from the halfway line, beat two men and drove a powerful low shot into the bottom right corner. Beckles-Richards looked to turn provider soon after as he whipped in a free-kick cross that just evaded the head of Marc Charles-Smith before the Lowestoft keeper Ben Dudzinski gathered the ball.
But any hope of a revival appeared to be over just before the break as the visitors regained their two goal advantage. A superb ball over the top was slammed home by Matthew Foy, who beat the offside trap to fire it past Shane Gore. After two changes at the break, Wingate started the second half in the ascendency. Substitute Afolabi Obafemi’s header played Beckles-Richards through on goal, but after trying to round the keeper, the ball deflected off him and out for a goal kick.
The Blues continued to pile on the pressure and Dudzinski was certainly the busier ‘keeper in the second half, saving two attempts in quick succession from Tommy Tejan-Sie and then Obafemi. The breakthrough came minutes later. Ola Williams’ shot was blocked, then Obafemi struck a shot at the keeper, before Marc Charles-Smith was on hand to slot the ball home from close range.
The search for an equaliser was immediate and Obafemi almost grabbed it, but saw his header from Tejan-Sie’s cross go agonisingly wide. Tejan-Sie then tried his luck from outside the area but the Lowestoft stopper was equal to it, palming the ball out for a corner. That third goal arrived with five minutes remaining when, after pinball in the area, it fell to Ahmet Rifat, who made no mistake, rifling his shot into the net.
The home side were not done yet however, and after setting up a tense finale, they won the game with virtually the last kick. Substitute Ben Pattie was the hero as his cross-come-shot evaded everyone and nestled into the far corner to spark jubilant scenes amongst the Wingate faithful.
WingateTV: Marc Charles Smith and Ahmet Rifat post Lowestoft Town: HERE
Report by Sam Jones