Wingate and Finchley fought the law, but the law won. A last-minute FA Trophy replay defeat to Wealdstone on Tuesday meant the Blues needed to carry their form in those two games over to the weekend if they wanted to see off a resurgent Met Police side.
But after a tepid first half of few chances, second half goals from Olli Robinson and Roman Michael-Persil presented Wingate with a mountain they never looked like climbing. The result means Wingate have lost two on the bounce for the first time since August and Keith Rowland’s men are still yet to win a game in December.
Rob Laney and Steve Wales both came close with early chances before Cladiu Vilcu planted a 16th minute header off target. While Wingate’s first scare came four minutes later when Met Police saw a goal ruled out for offside. Their second scare came just a couple of minutes later when Shane Gore appeared to trip Charlie Collins outside the box as he raced clean through on goal, but the goalkeeper was let off with just a yellow card.
The hosts’ first real chance came on the half hour mark but an unmarked Rob Brantley sent his header well wide of the post. And Ben Pattie had the visitors’ best opportunity to open the scoring when Stuart Searle dropped the ball at his feet but the striker, with moments left in the half and an open goal gaping in front of him, contrived to put his shot wide. The miss nearly came back to bite Wingate when Collins forced Gore into a spectacular close-range stop from a tight angle, but the goalkeeper had done enough to see the sides head into the break level.
Wingate found themselves behind just nine minutes into the second half when a deep corner was swung in and Robinson’s header deflected into the net. The lead was doubled after 67 minutes by another deflection when Michael-Persil drove at the Blues’ defence before hitting a shot that flicked off Jordan Gibbons and looped over Gore’s head. Ryan Sellers planted a late free kick into Searle’s hands but in all truth Wingate struggled to make an impact on a foggy Imber Court pitch.
Keith Rowland’s men had not drawn a blank in 10 games before Saturday’s result and they will need to polish their shooting boots ahead of a trip to AFC Hayes on Tuesday.
Report by Andy Gerlis