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Wingate & Finchley 2
Bani (31'), Olarewaju (90')
2 Kingstonian
Noguera Leon (19' pen), Evans (86')

Wingate and Finchley match report

match report by Rupert Cane

The game started with scarcely anyone in attendance thinking it would finish. It would end, however, some two hours later, 10-man Wingate & Finchley snatching a point with the last kick on a freezing night in north London.

For K’s, two points dropped? Probably. But from the moment Wingate equalised for the first time on the half-hour, our hosts were the better side. With 10 minutes left, a point would have seemed a good one. Such are the vagaries of football.

The pitch had passed a 2pm inspection yet remained pretty solid. When K’s swung an early free-kick into the box, the clattering of studs hitting hard ground sounded like an exchange of gunfire.

Perhaps the bitter chill affected the referee’s mindset when he inexplicably awarded K’s a penalty shortly after the quarter-hour. The tackle on Iker Leon was a good, clean one and should have resulted in a corner. No player or fans appealed but the referee pointed to the spot. Leon picked himself up and thumped his penalty low and hard through Ben Goode’s legs.

The majority of the crowd of 108 had something to cheer 10 minutes later when Alkeo Bani headed in Antonis Vasilou’s teasing right-wing cross. It led to a very public inquest between Chevron McLean and Jacob Bancroft about how we allowed the delivery to come in.

Dylan Kearney had a couple of decent sights of goal prior to the break as Wingate finished the stronger. They started the second half on top, too, with K’s struggling to get out. Bartley Quaine fired a very good chance over from near the penalty spot before a period of nothingness ensued with much of the game contested in the middle third.

Ten minutes remained when Wingate sub Luke Ifil got clear only to be denied first by a good Rob Tolfrey save, and then a hacked clearance off the line.

It was at that point we would have taken the draw back south, but improbably we went ahead in the 86th minute. Tyrese Owen had had our only shot of note in the second half, straight at Goode, and it was he that freed Great Evans down the left-hand channel. The striker confidently took the pass in his stride and bent a fine finish into the far corner, Thierry Henry style, with most behind the goal thinking it was going wide.

A first proper bundle of the season ensued, players and supporters alike aware how big a goal it might have been in the battle against relegation.

Alas, we could not hold on, despite the hosts having Daniel Emovon sent off early in four minutes of time added on. K’s wasted a couple of chances to waste time, and with the final attack of the game Wingate equalised. Again it was a cross from the right that did the damage, Ifil winning the first header and Mike Olarewaju nudging the ball past Tolfrey with his thigh, despite a suspicion of offside. The clock read 95:45.

Wingate and Finchley: Ben Goode, Camron Gbadebo, Ben Siggers, Alkeo Bani, Michael Olarewaju, Ryan Sellers, Olarinde Williams, Ansu Janneh, Dylan Kearney, Antonis Vasiliou, Bartley Quaine.

Subs: Luke Ifil (for Olarinde Williams, 54m), Emmanuel Yeboah, Daniel Emovon (for Ryan Sellers, 7m), Reise Allesani (for Bartley Quaine, 71m), Dernell Wynter.

Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Dwight Pascal, Chevron McLean, Declan Skura, Danny Dudley, Tyrese Owen, Iker Noguera Leon, Lee Lewis, Great Evans, Jacob Bancroft, Jake Eales.

Subs: Isaiah Jones, Kwesi Ntim (for Jacob Bancroft, 64m), Michael Abnett, Sean Bonnett-Johnson (for Lee Lewis, 54m), Joshua Ogunseye.

Red card: Daniel Emovon (90m)

Goal scorers: Iker Noguera Leon (19m pen, 0-1), Alkeo Bani (31m, 1-1), Great Evans (86m, 1-2), Michael Olarewaju (90+6m, 2-2)

Attendance: 108

Published Thursday 26th January 2023