Wealdstone battle back twice to deny Wingate & Finchley victory
Wingate & Finchley twice took the lead but ended up with a 2-2 draw away at Wealdstone in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday.
Scott Shulton gave the Blues an early lead but the Stones hit back through Chris Moore 10 minutes later.
And, although Leon Smith maintained his fine run of goalscoring form to put the visitors back in front in the 24th minute, Tom Pett levelled again just before half-time as the local rivals shared the points.
Wingate made the short journey to the ever-improving Ruislip home of Wealdstone which is now covered on all four sides following the erection of a new stand over this summer.
The pitch was in good condition as one would expect in the early part of the season and the weather was blustery and cool so pretty ideal for football.
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Wingate made two changes from the midweek defeat at Met Police with Shulton coming in for John Christian and Marcus Milner replacing the unavailable Hector Mackie.
Wingate had been victorious at Wealdstone in each of the last two seasons, so was this going to be three straight wins in a row at this local derby? The crowd of over 425 were to be treated to an exciting roller coaster first half and a slightly subdued second period.
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The opening period was dominated by Wingate and it culminated in a well-worked goal when Ola Williams crossed the ball and Leon Smith headed back across goal for Shulton to rifle home from close range with only nine minutes on the clock.
However, the home side responded when Moore was left free on the edge of the area and his shot gave Bobby Smith little chance.
This did not deter Wingate, whose midfield trio of Tejan-Sie, McCall and Shulton were still winning the midfield battle and the visitors scored the goal of the game in the 24th minute when, after some neat midfield play, Leon Smith rifled home from 20 yards.
Just as in the game at Met Police, a goal was conceded right on half-time when the Blues sloppily failed to clear and the lively Pett picked up the ball wide on the right, cutting in and riding two tackles before firing an excellent shot across Bobby Smith to level the scores.
Wingate brought on Jesse Parsons for Frankie Webb at half-time, with Parsons making his first-team debut and the second half saw Wingate seemingly happy to protect the draw, while Wealdstone pressed hard for the winner without really making an impact.
Only in the closing stages, as their attacks became more frantic, did a decisive look likely and Scott Mcgleish fired into the side netting from close range, while Wes Parker angled a header against the post in the last minute.
But all in all, this was a very satisfying draw which still leaves Wealdstone without a win after three matches and Wingate with a solid start to the season with four points from three matches.
The Blues now entertain two teams who have not dropped any points over the next week, hosting Grays Athletic at The Abrahams Stadium on Tuesday and then facing Kingstonian next Saturday.
Wingate & Finchley: B Smith, Williams, Wright, Webb (Parsons 45), Weatherstone, Tejansie, McCall (Rifat 60), Shulton (Christian 70), Milner, Mason, L Smith