Wingate and Finchley earned a valuable point when they fought back to grab a 1-1 draw against Needham Market on Saturday. The first half began in a relatively open fashion, with both sides having chances – first, Jamie Griffiths’ cross had to be cleared by Sean Cronin for the visitors and then Wingate debutant Charley Barker’s cross from the wide right was met by Afolabi Obafemi but his strike was blocked.
The hosts continued to press and Marc Charles-Smith was inches away from breaking the deadlock but Reece Beckles-Richards’ cross slightly eluded him at the back post. Despite the early Wingate pressure, few meaningful chances were created by either side in the first half hour and it was the visitors who scored first with ten first half minutes remaining. Adam Mills won possession inside the box and rolled a shot past Shane Gore to send Needham into a 1-0 lead.
Needham nearly doubled their lead with five minutes to go in the first half when Griffiths took aim from 25 yards out however his curling shot was tipped wide by Gore. The Blues came out with much more purpose in the second half and from the off looked like they were the team more likely to score. The equaliser nearly came three minutes into the second period however Obafemi failed to keep his header from Luke Ifil’s cross on target.
As the game progressed, it became much more open and either side looked like they could have scored – Griffiths was only denied by Cronin when he made his way past Gore and looked to have scored and Nathan Mavila’s powerful strike required a great save by James Bradbrook. With just over ten minutes remaining, it was the home side who got the goal and the all important equaliser. Ifil played a short corner with Luke Alfano before whipping a super ball into the box which Charles-Smith rose to power in.
With parity restored, both sides went looking for a winner. Kieran Morphew crossed for Griffiths and his header was only inches wide of the left post with Gore stranded. Then, in the last minute of the match, substitute Ben Pattie took aim from distance and his shot was only parried by Bradbrook but Charles-Smith was unable to get his shot away from the rebound.
It is a point that Wingate can be satisfied with, given that they weren’t at their best for much of the game however given the league standings, the Blues might have expected to win this one.
WingateTV: Dean Barker & Marc Charles Smith post Needham Market: HERE
Report by Jamie Grossman