|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Saturday 20 August 2016|
Hendon left a blustery Maurice Rebak Stadium empty-handed after a frustrating afternoon, with Wingate & Finchley clinching all three points in a fairly dour El Northcirculo derby. The conditions were undoubtedly testing, with a swirling wind occasionally accompanied by heavy rain, but it was the home side that mastered the unfavourable climate and secured their first victory of the campaign, leaving the visitors with just a point to their name after two defeats and a draw.
Either side could have opened the scoring during the opening quarter of the game, with both goalkeepers being called into action. Rob Hastings was picked out in the Hendon box by Rob Laney, with Hendon keeper Berkley Laurencin able to make a low stop. Hendon's Karl Oliyide burst into the Wingate box shortly thereafter, but Wingate keeper Shane Gore was able to quell the threat with a decent save.
Hendon's chances were not helped by an enforced change after 24 minutes: Casey Maclaren was forced off with an injury and he was replaced by Luke Tingey. The Greens kept up some sustained pressure, forcing Gore into a couple more saves, with both Finbarr Robins and Dale Binns troubling the Wingate goalkeeper.
After repelling these incursions from Hendon, Wingate soon scored what proved to be the decisive goal from a set piece. After Laney was bundled over, Steve Wales took charge of the free kick and his magnificent 30-yard strike rocketed into the net, giving Laurencin in the Hendon goal no chance.
The home side finished the half with a couple of headers that perhaps should have tested Laurencin more severely, but Hendon were pleased to hear the half-time whistle and take an opportunity to regroup in the dressing room.
Hendon made more of a contest of it in the second half, although they were frequently guilty of misplaced passes, wasteful possession and profligacy in front of goal. They saw one attempt ruled out for a foul on Gore and also saw a couple of efforts from distance fly over the bar or be comfortably handled by the keeper.
The latter stages of the game saw Hendon make their final changes, Andre Da Costa on for Spencer McCall and Niko Muir making way for Kezie Ibe. Hendon just had one more chance of note, Chris Seeby firing over the bar, while Wingate still had time to force Laurencin into a couple more saves.
This was a good win for Wingate, getting them off the mark and clambering up the table, while for Hendon it was a frustrating afternoon where they failed to show anything like the sort of football that they are capable of. The conditions were not kind, but manager Gary McCann will be looking for his side to produce performances of greater cohesion and finesse as the season progresses.
|12||Alfie Bartram||for 11 , 67|
|16||Billy Healey||for 10 , 74|
|12||Kezie Ibe||for 9 , 67|
|16||Luke Tingey||for 5 , 24|
|17||Andre Da Costa||for 8 , 72|