HILL PARTY ENDS EARLY AS HAMLET COP CRASH
THAT’S the thing about hosting New Year’s Eve parties – there’s always someone who gatecrashes it and drinks your parents’ best bottle.
Wingate & Finchley were that guy as they pooped the big celebration of yet another bumper crowd at Dulwich Hamlet.
Almost 2,000 turned up expecting to see the Pink and Blue finish 2016 with a bang by posting a third successive win to aide their promotion quest.
But Shane Gore’s second-half penalty save from substitute Danny Carr and resolute defending meant it was a point shared.
“Every club we seem to play gets disappointed when we take points off them,” said Wingate & Finchley boss Keith Rowland, whose side are in the bottom half.
“Staines were exactly the same on Boxing Day – another good club who have come down from a good league. Dulwich are trying to get up to a good league. For me, to take a point against Staines and then a point here, that’s okay for us.
“We’ve got a lot of games in hand through our cup run. But in a one-off game here today, I’ll take the point.”
Rowland’s side got off to a great start when Reece BecklesRichards turned in a corner from close range with three minutes on the clock.
Charlton loanee Chris Millar was denied by the legs of Gore as the hosts looked for a swift reply, which duly came on 21 minutes.
Nathan Green swung in a cross and Dumebi Dumaka rose high to power in the equaliser with his head.
Tommy Tejan-Sie almost restored Wingate’s lead with a curling free-kick, while at the other end defender Matt Drage saw his flick headed off the line by Tanasheh Abrahams five minutes before the break.
But the excitement wasn’t over and on 45 minutes Wingate had a penalty. Drage was adjudged to have barged Rob Laney over as they chased a ball. Former England C stopper Preston Edwards, however, was equal to captain Steve Wales’ low spot-kick.
Not to be outdone in the goalie stakes, Gore immediately produced a fingertip save to deny Drage at the end of a frantic opening period. Then he kept out the important one from 12 yards on 58 minutes.
Carr raced into the area, chopped back but was taken down by Ryan Sellers’ sliding challenge. Carr grabbed the ball but, like Wales, his low effort from the spot was saved.
Luke Ifill was a relieved man when his sliced clearance went behind for a corner. But despite enjoying the Dulwich pressure, Wingate held on.
STAR MAN: Claudiu Vilcu (Wingate & Finchley) ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★
FIRM: Dumebi Dumaka hammers home the equaliser before, inset, celebrating
RICH PICKINGS: Reece Beckles-Richards is all smiles after his goal