Hendon and Wingate reinforce play-off credentials ahead of derby duel

Wingate & Finchley striker David Knight will spend Christmas Day at the top of the goalscoring chart

Wingate & Finchley striker David Knight will spend Christmas Day at the top of the goalscoring chart in the Ryman League Premier Division. Pic: Martin Addison - Credit: Archant

Hendon and Wingate & Finchley go head to head in Saturday’s derby having both reinforced their play-off credentials at the weekend.

The Dons earned a 1-1 draw away against second-placed Maidstone, leaving them in fourth place with a healthy eight-point cushion above fifth-placed Metropolitan Police – and Wingate recorded a 1-0 home win over Grays Athletic thanks to David Knight’s 23rd goal of the season.

Eighteen of those have come in the league, which leaves the Blues striker as the top scorer in the Ryman League Premier Division at Christmas – four ahead of Hendon’s Leon Smith, who used to play for Wingate.

Knight’s winner also left W&F just one point outside the play-offs as they prepare to visit Hendon on Saturday, in a game where supporters can pay what they want for entry.

The first half was even when Hendon visited Maidstone at the weekend, but the hosts upped their game after the interval and took the lead through a Frannie Collin header.

The home side had more than enough chances to put the game to bed but the Dons, aided by resolute defending and some inspired goalkeeping from Ben McNamara, stayed in the contest and Elliott Brathwaite headed home from Tony Taggart’s corner in the closing stages to grab a draw.

There were few chances in the first half of Wingate’s home game against Grays Athletic on Saturday, but the Blues came out firing in the second half and went ahead in the 53rd minute as Tommy Tejan-Sie played in Knight, who finished across the keeper.

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Knight went on to miss another one on one, and the Blues might have been punished as Grays increased the pressure late on, but brave defending and excellent goalkeeping from Bobby Smith secured the three points.