Wingate & Finchley’s Saturday trip to the coast to take on Worthing at the Bibby Financial Services Stadium proved fruitful in the opening 34 minutes, though ended fruitless after the hosts overturned a deficit to take all the spoils and hand The Blues a 2-1 defeat in the 2018/2019 Bostik League curtain-raiser.
Within seven minutes, Marc Charles-Smith retained and passed on possession across to Tommy Tejan-Sie, who manoeuvred into space before seeing his shot saved by Lucas Cavagnari. With 34 minutes on the clock, the north Londoners took the lead. Ola Williams’ precision cross saw Rob Laney pushed over in the box for Sean Cronin to emphatically convert from the penalty spot, leaving Cavagnari with no chance.
Despite the bright start, the Mackerel Men soon drew level. David Ajiboye ran through the heart of the defence prior to laying off to Callum Kealy, who made no mistake slotting in from close on 39 minutes. Ajiboye, continuing to cause havoc, broke into space before curling towards the top corner which Shane Gore spectacularly palmed over three minutes later.
In stoppage-time, Reece Beckles-Richards shimmied down the right before finding Laney, whose first-time shot was kept out. 11 minutes following the restart, Kealy was at the double to hand the home side the lead. Jesse Starkey picked out the debutant who struck home from close.
Ricky Aguiar found space in the box and attempted to curl inside the near-post, however he was unable to beat Gore with 20 minutes remaining. Sam Rents’ quick one-two opened up space to test Gore again, who remained stern between the sticks five minutes on.
Kealy went on the hunt for his hat-trick, but was left frustrated after being put under pressure by Cronin and Gore, with the striker hitting wide a minute later.
The visitors, despite lacking a clinical edge, weren’t short of endeavour and with ten minutes left on the clock could have drawn level. Beckles-Richards’ inside left free-kick fell to the long-serving, returning Marc Weatherstone at the back-post, who just couldn’t get a solid connection as the chance fizzled out into the hands of Cavagnari.
Two minutes from the end, Lewis Putman – making his competitive debut – broke down the left and whipped in a dangerous low ball towards the near-post, but just like the points, a touch went amiss.
Report by Khalid Karimullah