Wingate and Finchley match report
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge, photos by Simon Roe.
Kingstonian’s frustrating start to the season continued as they once again missed chances and had to settle for a point, this time at Wingate and Finchley. Despite coming from behind to earn a draw, Hayden Bird was frustrated that his side couldn’t turn dominance into goals after playing against 10 men for more 70 minutes.
A warm North London evening got off to a dreadful start for the Ks, as the otherwise untroubled backline afforded Tommy Tejan-Sie too much time and space to pick his spot from 25 yards, and wonderfully curl the ball into the top corner. It was a fine goal, with the hosts' only notable shot of the game.
After that initial shock, Kingstonian began to seize the initiative, twice opening up the Wingate defence with neat passing, but both times let down by their finishing as Dan Bennett fired straight at Shane Gore before Reece Hall skewed his shot wide. Between those chances ex-K Ahmet Rifat managed to earn himself two bookings in seven minutes and his marching orders to go with them. Despite all of the ball and territory, Ks endured a toothless end to the half in the final third as Wingate held on to their lead with some comfort.
It took just three second half minutes for parity to be restored. Louie Theophanous beat the offside trap but as Sean Cronin tried to recover he could only head the ball towards his own goal. The ball bounced from woodwork to woodworker as timber magnate Gore helplessly attempted to claw the ball away to no avail. Ks were level.
From that point on, it was one way traffic, and with 30 minutes to go, Wingate removed even the pretence of looking for three points as their only remaining striker was removed. But for all Kingstonian’s pressure, they struggled to create clear-cut opportunities. Balls across the box fell excruciatingly just out of reach, as time and time again they failed to penetrate the host’s stout, if very deep, defensive line.
Finally, in the last 10 minutes, chances came. First, a bizarre deflection from a cross saw the ball loop up and onto the bar, but when the rebound fell to Theophanous inside the six yard box, the ball span between his legs and away to safety. The most agonising moment was still to come. With seconds left of injury time, a free kick from deep inside the Wingate half was fizzed into the area. After a tangle of limbs, the ball eventually fell to Dan Thompson. His contact perhaps wasn’t quite as clean as he’d have hoped, but it looked in, until Gore flung himself to the ground and somehow clung on to ensure his side a share of the spoils.
Wingate and Finchley: Shane Gore, Luke Ifil, Layne Eadie, Ahmet Rifat, Henry Marku, Sean Cronin, Olumide Oluwatimilehin, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Marvin Morgan, Anthony Mendy, Roman Michael-Percil.
Subs: Mason Hall (for Marvin Morgan, 61m), Henry Ochieng (for Roman Michael-Percil, HT), Tanasheh Abrahams (for Anthony Mendy, 27m), Tage Kennedy, James Ewington.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Sean Clohessy, Fabio Saraiva, Simon Cooper, Jerry Puemo, Tom Kavanagh, Dan Bennett, Kenny Beaney, Louie Theophanous, Gus Sow, Reece Hall.
Subs: Dan Thompson (for Dan Bennett, 57m), Calum Davies, Youssef Bamba (for Tom Kavanagh, 73m), Dan Hector (for Reece Hall, 80m), Lewis Pearch.
Goal scorers: Tommy Tejan-Sie (3m, 1-0), Sean Cronin (47m og, 1-1)
Red card: Ahmet Rifat (17m, two bookable offences)