Isthmian Premier Division Sat 23 February Maurice Rebak Stadium
Wingate & Finchley
  • Rapai (63')
  • Ajiboye (83', 66')

For only the second time this season, Manager, Adam Hinshelwood named the same starting eleven two games in a row. The only changes coming on the bench, as Joel Colbran, (David Ajiboye) and Alfie Young all made a return to the matchday squad.

In a lacklustre first half, chances were almost non-existent, with even the presence of Old MacDonald and George Formby, not helping either side to strike a particular part of a farmyard animal’s anatomy with a specific stringed instrument.

It took ten minutes for Kleton Perntreou to fly out of his goal at a corner, only for a bemused Sean Cronin to head wide, with Red’s riposte arriving in the form of Ollie Pearce’s attempt, which was last seen in the South Barnet area.

Colbran, on for the injured Ross Edwards, spotted the run of Pearce moments later but the striker could only half-turn and fire a low effort into the safe hands of Shane Gore.

Ricky Aguiar’s ambitious shot from a free-kick was parried by Gore, as far as Pearce, with the ball deflecting wide of the far post for a corner, in the visitor’s only real chance of the opening period.

Half-an-hour in and Aguiar’s foul on Reece Beckles-Richards resulted in Charlie Ruff firing the subsequent set-piece into the defensive wall, while the follow-up was held low down by KP.

Our cool custodian showed good reactions when he came out to smother the ball and deny Beckles-Richards a rare shot at goal, before Jesse Starkey’s hesitation left Tanny Abrahams to break clear and tee-up Charlie Cole. who was also denied by the busy net minder. Fortunately, the following flag-kick produced no further alarm, which, ironically, would have been handy, to wake up the near two hundred in attendance, as half-time finally arrived.

The turnaround, thankfully, saw more action, with Imti Rapai’s turn and shot narrowly eluding Cole at the back stick and Jalen Jones sliding across to block from Beckles-Richards, in the opening exchanges.

Pearce found his range shortly afterwards, when he forced Gore to go airborne in tipping over his shot that threatened to curl in from the inside-left.

Perntreou kept out Layne Eadie at the near post, once he’d had time to set himself, at the end of a move that’d progressed down the right through Ruff and Rapai.

Cole couldn’t capitalise when he found himself with a shooting opportunity, just shy of the hour mark and Beccles-Richards saw his attempt rather awkwardly spooned away; after debutant loanee, Donovan Makoma had robbed Starkey in midfield.

Zack Newton did well to reach the byline and send over a delivery that Pearce, under pressure from Luke Ifil, was unable to keep under the crossbar off his head – so to speak – until a throw-in, deep inside opposition territory, lead to Wingate & Finchley going in front.

Adubofour-Poku was dispossessed and Beckles-Richards raced away over the halfway line; his shot pushed out by Perntreou and Rapai pounced on some hesitant/non-existent defending, to power home the loose ball into the bottom corner. Worthing not heeding the warning barely a minute earlier, when KP denied Beckles-Richards in the box.

That goal brought about the introduction of David Ajiboye, who, within seconds, had equalised.

Starkey’s left wing corner was met first time by the replacement, as he peeled off his marker to volley in a stunning equaliser from the apex of the six yard box.

The advantage nearly swung back in the host’s favour immediately but Makoma’s connection at the back post wasn’t a clean one and Beckles-Richard’s low delivery went unpunished, as it flashed across the penalty area.

A lack of communication almost cost The Blues, when Alieu Njie, unexpectedly, nipped in front of Gore to nod Newton’s header, from Aguiar’s long-range pass, out for a flag-kick. The deadball delivery going behind via the dome of Jones, for a goal-kick.

The final fifteen minutes served up one or two minor moments of mayhem, as a flick-on by Cole set substitute, Anthony Mendy charging into the box, where KP guided him to the byline and the angle proved too tight to get in a cross.

A Laurel and Hardy situation between Starkey and Kwame was recovered, as the latter of the pair wriggled free and released Pearce, whose low ball in was intercepted by Gore, with Ajiboye and Newton ready to pounce.

Laurel, sorry, I mean Starkey, made a rather more decisive impact shortly after that caper, with a delightfully-swung pass for a rampaging Ajiboye to take, nonchalantly, down off his shoulder and, with his second touch, fire low past the outstretched glove of Gore and into the far corner of the net, whilst also holding off the close attentions of Eadie, from twenty yards.

Finally, Mendy couldn’t keep the ball in play in stoppage time and the points, went South.