Meakin made to wait for first win as Wingate are frustrated by Leiston
Ryman Premier Division: Wingate & Finchley 2 Leiston 2
Gary Meakin was denied his first win as Blues boss after a late Leiston equaliser ensured that the points were shared on Tuesday night.
Having lost their first two games since Meakin took charge, Wingate seemed set for victory after coming from behind to lead 2-1 against the Premier Division strugglers.
But the home side missed their chance to wrap up all three points and were made to pay when Emmanuel Osei headed Leiston level six minutes from time.
Wingate might have gone in front when John Kyriacou’s miscued cross deceived goalkeeper Nathan Munson and bounced off the crossbar, while Leon Smith found space in the box, only to fire straight at Munson.
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Leiston were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Nathan Stone was brought down by Bobby Smith – but the Blues keeper made amends with the resulting penalty, diving to his right to parry George Wilson’s spot-kick.
Although Wingate had a penalty shout of their own turned down after Murat Karagul’s effort appeared to be handled, the contest remained scoreless at half-time.
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The game sprang into life after the break and Karagul went close before James Gershfield set up a chance at the near post, but Leon Smith was foiled by a combination of goalkeeper and defender.
That block proved to be vital for Leiston, who immediately broke and snatched the lead against the run of play when Stone fired across Smith into the far corner.
But the Blues equalised almost immediately as Leiston failed to clear their lines and Ryan Gardiner pounced on a rebound to fire in from 10 yards.
And the home side went in front with 15 minutes remaining when Leon Smith’s drive from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection, wrong-footing Munson as it flew into the bottom corner.
Wingate should have sealed victory with a third goal straight afterwards when the impressive Karagul raced down the left and played Smith in again – but the striker spooned his finish wide.
The Blues were punished for that miss as Leiston full-back Seb Dumber created space on the left and whipped in a superb cross for Osei to head in from close range.
There was still time for Wingate to turn one point into three when a loose ball fell for Marc Weatherstone inside the area, but he could only scuff his shot at Munson.
Murat Karagul and Leon Smith were both on target as Wingate were beaten 4-2 at Bury Town in an entertaining end-to-end contest on Saturday.
John Sands gave Town the lead with a 24th-minute header, but the Blues hit back immediately as Scott Shulton and Kieron Street combined to set up Karagul, who slid the ball home from close range.
Sands restored Bury’s advantage just a minute into the second half, only for the visitors to draw level again as Smith raced onto a high ball and fired into the net.
But Bury made it 3-2 when Mark Coulson’s cross sailed over Bobby Smith and dropped into the net, and Sam Reed netted a late fourth for the hosts after a misunderstanding between Daniel Nielsen and his keeper.
Meanwhile, Hendon slid back into the Premier Division relegation zone after their home match against Canvey Island was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Vale Farm. The Greens are away to Wealdstone on Saturday.