This edition of Wingate & Finchley don’t do draws. With just one in the league coming into Saturday’s trip to the south coast (against next week’s opponents Whitehawk back in August), Ahmet Rifat’s side had been picking up points in the order of threes since the season began.
A point in Kent, a ground where we also traditionally struggle, is then not something to be sniffed at. The point keeps the Blues firmly in the playoff spots following the festive period,a reflection of the quality of their performances throughout the first half of the season.
Whilst that quality only made its appearances in fits and starts against Folkestone, the Blues will be perhaps slightly aggrieved not to have come away with all three points, on a cold and blustery afternoon. After Rhamar Garrett-Douglas had placed a volley into the bottom corner of the Folkestone goal after 10 minutes to give the Blues the lead - his second goal of the year - things continued positively for the visitors.
They largely managed to restrict their hosts to long range attempts or soft headers, however they will have been frustrated not to extend their lead even further. Zack Newton, fresh off two goals, one each against Potters Bar and Kingstonian, burst through on goal and was bearing down on the keeper. He attempted to square the ball to the waiting Anointed Chukwu for the easiest of tap-ins, however his pass was smothered by the rapidly advancing goalkeeper, and cleared before any lasting damage could be done.
Likewise, as time was ticking down and a draw looking ever more likely, Rhamar Garrett-Douglas got himself free down the right hand side, again through 1-1 against the goalkeeper. This time though he just wasn’t able to get the ball out of his feet quickly enough and the goalkeeper was again able to smother the ball and kill off any danger.
Both chances were golden opportunities to extend the lead and bring home the three points, and so there will no doubt be some frustration that we couldn’t turn one of them into that winning goal.
That frustration will be enhanced by the manner of the hosts’ equaliser. After a free-kick was lifted into the box by Scott Heard, David Smith flicked the ball through the Wingate defence where Saidou Sanogo was standing unmarked to tap it home from a yard away. The protests from the Blue defenders would indicate that Sanogo was unmarked because he was standing in an offside position. The referee and assistant concluded otherwise, however, and so the goal stood.
It was a goal that perhaps summed up the performance for the Blues, who were never quite able to get into top gear all afternoon. They may have been slightly unlucky, but ultimately the outcome was one that they weren’t able to reverse throughout the remainder of the second half.
As Ahmet mentioned in his post-match debrief, a point in Folkestone is always welcomed, and so it was as the darkness closed in and the game wound down. It sets up next Saturday’s home game against Whitehawk as a chance to get back to winning ways, against a side who, much like Folkestone on Saturday, rescued a point when the sides last met.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Wingate & Finchley: Goode; Solomon (Webb 88’); Cracknell; Frimpong; Frempah; Achuba; Garrett-Douglas; Newton (Bani 77’); Chukwu; Long; Biler
Unused Subs: Williams; Ifil; Roberts