Bostik Premier: Wingate & Finchley 1 Margate 0

Michael Bryan of Harrow Borough and Ahmet Rifat of Wingate & Finchley battle for the ball (pic: Gavi

Michael Bryan of Harrow Borough and Ahmet Rifat of Wingate & Finchley battle for the ball (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Wingate & Finchley edged past Margate for a hard-fought victory at the Harry Abrahams Stadium.

Margate had started brightly but Wingate grew into the game and were deserved winners in the end.

There was an early chance for Margate as Mathew Bodkin found space in the box after a through ball, but his shot was saved by keeper Shane Gore.

Wingate’s first chance came from a deep cross but the header was wide.

Margate’s Jay May then found himself clear but was flagged for offside, then he controlled a long ball brilliantly and set it up for Bodkin who volleyed wide from just outside the box.

Wingate’s Ola Williams picked out Ron Laney but his header was wide as an uneventful first half ended scoreless.

There was an early chance in the second half for Wingate as Reece Beckles-Richards’ dangerous cross nearly found its way into the net.

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George Brown then found space for Margate but his shot from just outside the box was straight at the keeper.

The game sprung to life in the second half when Frannie Collin then wiggled away from a challenge for Wingate but slipped before laying off a pass.

George Brown was then booked for dissent after Wingate won a free-kick and Beckles-Richards opened the scoring on 57 minutes, prodding home after Margate keeper Lenny Pidgeley palmed a cross-cum-shot back into the six-yard box.

Margate nearly replied instantly from a corner, but Wingate keeper Gore made a smart save from a header.

Wingate then piled on some pressure looking for a second with Beckles-Richards putting in some dangerous crosses.

The visitors sent Lee Prescott on for Brown in a bid to find an equaliser but Wingate were now controlling the game in midfield, enjoying plenty of possession. Margate made two more changes as Jordan Chiedozie replaced Bodkin, with Harry Stannard replacing David Martin shortly after.

Collin then found space in the box from a low cross for Margate but his shot was blocked by Sean Cronin, while Joe Kizzi fouled May to concede a free kick, with Collin’s effort finding Thomas Wynter in the box where his shot was safely claimed by Gore.

Wingate boss Keith Rowland sent on Tommy Tejan-Sie for Marc Charles-Smith and Afolabi Obafemi for Ahmet Rifat, but Margate won another free kick just outside the box.

Jack Evans stepped to take it, but although a decent attempt it flew over the home goal, while substitute Stannard nearly broke clear for Margate but Gore cleared.

Play continued to swing from end to end until the final whistle, with Thomas Mills booked late on for a challenge on Beckles-Richards.

Rob Laney then thought he had scored a second for the hosts after rounding the Margate keeper, but his shot was cleared brilliantly off the line by Mills.

Wingate: Shane Gore, Ola Williams, Nathan Mavila, Joe Kizzi, Sean Cronin, Ahmet Rifat (Obafemi), Luke Ifil, Spencer McCall, Marc Charles-Smith (Tejan-Sie), Reece Beckles-Richards. Unused: Ben Pattie, Kweku Lucan, Joe Sharpe.

Margate: Lenny Pidgeley, Chris Sessegnon, Thomas Mills, George Brown (Prescott), Liam Friend, Thomas Wynter, Mathew Bodkin (Chiedozie), Jack Evans, Jay May, Frannie Collin, David Martin (Stannard). Unused: Ben Swift, Orlando Smith.