Alieu Njie’s late thunderbolt rescued a point got David Norman’s Wingate & Finchley at home to Whitehawk, in a game that neither side could afford to lose.
The 151 inside the Maurice Rebak Stadium, including visitors to see a historic day for technology in football - Wingate’s AI ‘coach’, spent much of the first half hoping for the whistle, with little action of note.
The hosts had a chance cleared just before striker, Charlie Cole could pounce and finish while Connor Tighe found the roof of Shane Gore’s net with a free kick. Wingate’s first true effort came after half an hour, but Reece Beckles-Richards could only fire over the bar from 25 yards out.
Tighe had another effort for the visitors when played in on goal but blazed high and wide.
The second half burst into life however, with the bottom placed side taking a shock lead. Gore made a smart save from a distant shot but could only parry the ball out to Rhyle Ovenden, who had the time and space to tap home.
Three changes in five minutes from Norman allowed the hosts to throw everything at their guests, who had to deal with a lot of pressure.
Tanasheh Abrahams came close on 69 minutes but struck the post with a fierce left footed drive before his shot a minute later was blocked inside the area.
Rob Laney came close with two headers, the first flying well over the bar and the latter skimming his hair away to safety.
However, the Blues’ perseverance paid off as a Beckles cross was handled inside the area but, before the referee could pick up his whistle, Njie blasted home to level.
The visitors had a couple of late corners but these came to no avail and a drab affair ended with a fair result.
Report by Nikhil Saglani