Wingate and Finchley kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 4-1 win over Welwyn Garden City.
The deadlock was broken by Wingate after 8 minutes when centre-back Sean Cronin converted from Luke Ifil’s free kick. Cronin was unlucky to see his first header hit the post but was on hand to score at the second attempt.
There were few clear-cut chances in the first half however Wingate still worked some opportunities – Ben Pattie was denied by Leslie and also headed over from an Ifil cross.
There were a host of changes at half time, featuring many of last season’s U18 and development sides as well as a few new trialists. The second half started quietly as well although ex-Wingate ‘keeper Jack Metcalfe denied Bobby Sears from close range and Afolabi Obafemi failed to convert the rebound.
The game sprung into life on the hour when Obafemi smartly headed Luke Alfano’s cross past Metcalfe to double Wingate’s advantage.
Welwyn were then denied superbly by a goal-line clearance from Ben Reynolds after ‘keeper Shane Gore was beaten. Welwyn halved the deficit five minutes later – their right winger tapped in at the back post to make it 2-1.
Wingate’s third and best goal of the match came at 78 minutes when Reynolds picked up the ball and struck into the top corner from 30 yards out – Metcalfe was unable to keep it out despite getting fingertips to the ball.
Wingate were given a chance to seal the game with 7 minutes remaining when Metcalfe brought down Obafemi in the box and a penalty was given. Obafemi took responsibility and duly converted, sending Metcalfe the wrong way to make the score 4-1.
Report by Jamie Grossman