Hawks fight fades
Despite a bright start, Harlow Town succumbed to defeat as Wingate & Finchley scored either side of half time.
The Hawks had started the game on top, but when the lively Afolabi Obafemi was fouled in the box, Sean Cronin converted the penalty.
The visitors faded as the game went on, and shortly into the second half Wingate & Finchley doubled the lead with a close range header from Rob Laney to seal all three points.
Harlow Town put the pressure on early, and Alex Read went close after only five minutes when his shot from inside the area was well blocked by Sean Cronin.
Charlie Edwards then also shot at goal, but it flew across the face of the goal with no one else able to turn the ball into the net.
The hosts began to neutralise the early pressure, and when Luke Ifil dragged a shot across goal it hit the post before being smothered by David Hughes.
With 27 minutes gone, Afolabi Obafemi was brought down inside the box after a tangle of legs with Hawks right-back Paul Rodgers, and the referee pointed to the spot. Sean Cronin dispatched the penalty expertly with a powerful shot into the bottom left corner.
Marc Charles-Smith had a good opportunity to double the lead for Wingate when he was played through on goal. He hit the crossbar, and Reece Beckles-Richards’ follow-up shot was then smothered by David Hughes.
Harlow almost drew level in the final minutes of the half, when a scramble inside the six yard box was almost turned in by Alex Read. He saw his first shot blocked, and then when he teed the ball up for Jared Small the winger sent the ball wide of the post.
HT: Wingate & Finchley 1-0 Harlow Town
The hosts were the stronger side in the second period and with eight minutes played after the re-start they scored their second. A quick attack down the right saw the ball lofted to Rob Laney at the back post. He couldn’t miss, and headed the ball in from close range.
The Hawks were not out of the game yet and when Jared Small drove into the box his cross was deflected in to the path of Syrus Gordon, but his strike was blocked as Wingate defended stoutly.
The home back four were proving difficult to break down, and when Alex Read’s turn and shot was blocked by Ola Williams at the near post, a clean sheet seemed almost inevitable.
At the other end, Wingate & Finchley were still probing, and when Claudio Viclu’s cross was met in the middle by Obafemi’s wonderful volley, David Hughes pulled off a great reaction save to deny a third goal.
Beckles-Richards then burst down the right hand side before letting fly another shot, but once again David Hughes was equal to the effort with another good save.
Harlow weren’t able to sustain their early dominance, and with their attacking threat fading as the game went on, they were running out of time. Substitute Tommie Fagg had a strong appeal for a penalty with four minutes remaining, but he stayed on his feet to release the shot, before the referee adjudged that he had wasted the advantage.
Despite the promise early on in the game, the Hawks were soundly beaten as their winless run away to Wingate & Finchley extended to nine games.
FT: Wingate & Finchley 2-0 Harlow Town
Next up, the Hawks travel to Dorking Wanderers on Saturday 20th January. Kick off is at 3pm.