Wingate & Finchley's start to the season ended in a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Tonbridge Angels at Longmead with goals from Andre McCollin, Damien Scannell and Nathan Elder arriving in a first-half to forget. Both sides started with new-season jitters as neither tested the 'keeper until the 13th minute. Ryan Sellers latching onto a teasing pass firing towards the near-post which Anthony di-Bernardo did well to keep out.
Nick Wheeler's corner was met by Sonny Miles who found Elder to head over, Tommy Smith facing his own goal did enough to clip away McCollin's cross looking for Elder. Tonbridge made their pressure count on 25 minutes, when Tom Parkinson headed a well-taken corner McCollin's way for a close-ranged header.
It was 2-0 ten minutes later, Scannell firing in from inside the area, following Shane Gore's stop from Elder's prodded attempt. With the visitors unable to deal with the hosts continued bombardment of high balls, it was 3-0 just before the break. Elder connected with Parkinson's back-post header finishing off a carbon-copy move of the opener.
Keith Rowland's side were more assured in the second-half. Reece Beckles' pass came through to Rob Hastings who broke the offside trap, but his powerful strike was denied. Luke Ifil's drilled attempt from near 25-yards was then tipped away as he came close to finding the bottom corner. Ola Williams played Hastings away down the right who found Rob Laney, but he couldn't get a full connection charging in at the near-post as the ball hit the chest of di-Bernardo. Gore denied Blewden late on, just managing to get a strong hand down low to his one-on-one attempt, but to no avail.
It was a learning curve for a young Wingate side, as all attention now moves on to Tuesday evening's game at the Maurice Rebak Stadium against Billericay Town.
Report by Khalid Karimullah