Blues ten men beaten by late goals
Wingate & Finchley 4, Lowestoft Town 2: Playing for more than half the match with 10 men proved too much for Ryman Division One North champions Lowestoft Town as they fell to a defeat against play-off contenders Wingate & Finchley.
Wingate & Finchley 4, Lowestoft Town 2
Playing for more than half the match with 10 men proved too much for Ryman Division One North champions Lowestoft Town as they fell to a defeat against play-off contenders Wingate & Finchley.
The Blues conceded a 22nd-minute lead in the 40th minute, and two minutes later Andrew Fisk was red-carded for comments to the refereee after he had awarded Wingate & Finchley a penalty.
Although Lowestoft pulled back to 2-2 in the second half, they conceded two goals in the final stages.
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An early slip by Craig Ellis allowed Joe Francis an opening, but Danny Neilsen was across quickly to block.
Wingate were soon into their stride with Leon Smith making ground down the right, but his cross was cut out by Greg Crane.
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James Edgerley was next to threaten but Andy Reynolds dived bravely at his feet to claim the ball.
The game was developing into an excellent open contest.
Jamie Godbold, Smith and Crane combined and when the ball was crossed into the middle, Danny Bloomfield's glancing header was collected by Wingate keeper Gavin King.
Lowestoft took the lead in the 22nd minute with Fisk winning the ball in midfield before feeding Bloomfield, whose deflected shot looped over King into the net.
Wingate hit back strongly but Edgerley's dangerous cross was headed clear by Neil Plaskett.
Wingate levelled the scores in the 40th minute with Smith getting behind Matthew Halliday to hoot past the advancing Reynolds.
Worse was to follow for Lowestoft two minutes later as Smith's pace again caused problems, and he was pulled back by Crane to give Wingate a penalty.
Fisk was then shown a straight red card for comments to the referee before Jordan Fowler stepped up to convert the spot kick.
Lowestoft re-organised at the break with Matty Potter replacing the limping Bloomfield.
Despite being a man short Lowestoft continued to match their hosts, with chances being created at both ends.
Francis had a close-range effort blocked whilst at the other end Ahmet Rifat was only a foot wide from distance.
Another excellent run by Smith was finally halted by Crane and Gary Burrell stabbed a good chance wide.
Substitute Matt Nolan's delicate chip hit the crossbar and King clutched a Godbold cross off Francis' head.
Gary Burrell had a great chance to increase Wingate's lead as he raced clear but Reynolds produced a superb double save to not only block the first shot but also the follow-up.
Lowestoft levelled the scores in the 72nd minute with Plaskett threading the ball through to Godbold who sent a fierce rising drive past King into the roof of the net.
Lowestoft's joy was short-lived as Wingate regained the lead just three minutes later.
Marc Weatherstone's pass picked out Smith with his back to goal on the six-yard box and he held off Halliday's challenge to turn and strike the ball past Reynolds.
With Lowestoft committing men forward Wingate started to find more space and Burrell was again denied by Reynolds.
Nolan's 20-yard volley was inches too high and a Smith effort suffered a similar fate at the other end.
Wingate sealed their victory in the final minute as Smith found Chris Chase in acres of space to shoot past Reynolds.
Man of the Match: Leon Smith (Wingate & Finchley).
Wingate & Finchley: King, Weatherstone, Wright, Fowler (Sub Chase 62), Neilsen, Ellis, Edgerley (Sub McClachlan 46), Rifat, L Smith, Laird (Sub Hakim 67), Burrell. Subs (not used) Shehu, Carvaleo.
Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Plaskett, A Smith, Mitchell, Crane, Halliday. Godbold, Fisk, Bloomfield (Sub Potter 46), McGee (Sub Nolan 53), Francis (Sub Bussens 75). Subs (not used) Poppy, Clark.