Another slow start costs Town
Wingate & Finchley 2 Enfield Town 1
On foul night weather-wise, there was a sense of déjà vu as a sterile 45 minutes was followed by an improvement in the second half.
This was Wingate’s 8th game unbeaten, and they had the better of the opening stages with Reece Beckles-Richards catching the eye.
Jack Higgs had the first effort of the night for Town when he shot powerfully just wide of Shane Gore’s right-hand post. Wingate’s Spencer McCall was then off target when well placed. A chip from Ben Pattie over Town’s back line looked dangerous but the assistant’s flag went up for offside.
Town conceded in disappointing fashion when Beckles-Richards got past Danny Rumens on the Wingate right-hand side and had plenty of time to control, take aim, and bury a low shot past Joe Wright for the opener on 17 minutes.
Visiting supporters’ hearts were in mouths when Wright punched the ball straight to Beckles-Richards, but the former Kingstonian man lobbed the ball back tamely for Wright to grasp. There were half-hearted appeals for a penalty when Rob Bartley looked to have been impeded, but there were few crumbs of comfort for the remainder of the half. Ryan Blake was brought down unceremoniously by McCall, who was booked for the challenge from behind, but Sam Youngs’ consequent free kick flew well wide.
Wright gathered a dangerous whipped-in cross and, late in the half, Town had a let-off when a header from Rob Laney hit the angle of post and bar after another cross from the right.
Half-time: Wingate & Finchley 1 Enfield Town 0
As was the case on Saturday at Brightlingsea, Town came out with more purpose after the break and a dangerous cross from John Kyriacou was headed clear by Ola Williams fractionally ahead of Jack Higgs. But five minutes into the second period, Town were left with a mountain to climb after sub Darren Purse was adjudged to have brought down a home forward and Sean Cronin buried the penalty with power beyond Wright.
On the hour mark Blake was unlucky when he picked up a pass from Higgs and hit the base of the post with a left foot shot which skimmed across Gore. But the visitors were finally given a lift twenty minutes from time when a half-cleared free kick only reached as far as Higgs, who blasted the ball powerfully past Gore’s right shoulder. Simon Thomas then set up Higgs but there was an offside call. Town won a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, but neither of these came to anything. Ben Ward-Cochrane had a low shot which lacked sufficient power to trouble Gore, and the final attack of the night ended with Rumens blasting the ball well wide.
Wingate & Finchley: Shane Gore, Ola Williams, Nathan Mavila, Joe Kizzi, Sean Cronin, Ahmet Rifat, Ben Pattie (Afolabi Obafemi 67), Spencer McCall, Marc Charles-Smith (Joe Sharpe 81), Reece Beckles-Richards, Rob Laney. Unused subs: Kweku Lucan, De'Reece Vanderhyde, Antoine Akinola. Booked: McCall, Williams.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, John Kyriacou, Danny Rumens, Mario Noto, Rob Bartley, Taylor McKenzie (Darren Purse 31), Ryan Blackman (George Beattie 65), Sam Youngs, Ryan Blake, Simon Thomas (Ben Ward-Cochrane 77), Jack Higgs. Unused subs: Mickey Parcell, Drew Roberts. Booked: Purse, Noto.