A late goal denied Carshalton Athletic a share of the spoils as they lost their final league game of the season 2-1 at Wingate & Finchley on Saturday, writes James Barrett.
A second half penalty converted by Paul Vines put The Robins on level terms after a controversial opener for the hosts on 26 minutes opened the scoring.
A goal just before full time was harsh on Carshalton as a spirited performance deserved more.
Carshalton then came closest to taking the lead through captain David Ray on 16 minutes, but his 20 yard drive pinged the crossbar and bounced out for a goal kick.
Murat Karagul played a major part in Wingate’s opening goal on 26 minutes when the striker appeared to control the ball with his hand as he got round Luke Nolan and drove into the Carshalton box. Neither the linesman or referee gave a free kick and Karagul pulled the ball back behind the recovering defenders and Tony Burke side footed it into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
The Robins started the second half positively after Justyn Roberts and then Nolan both made great blocks to deny Wingate’s forwards adding another goal.
The midfield started working well and one move involving Billy Crook, Sean O’Toole and Sonny Ayres eventually set Vines away. His 20-yard shot had keeper Bob Smith sprawling and he palmed it around the post.
Then, on the hour The Robins had their best chance to get level. Crook and Ayres got Vines into the box but Smith blocked bravely at his feet. The ball ran free and Ayres had two chances to get the ball into the net, but Smith recovered to block each one and the ball was eventually hacked clear.
Substitute Darryl Hay, making only his second first team appearance of the season, then won the penalty that got the Robins level. His pace worried the home defenders and, as he and Paul Wright battled for possession in the box, the winger handled the ball.
Vines stepped up and rifled the ball coolly into the top left hand corner to make it one-all. It was the striker’s 29th goal of a productive season.
Pigden then had a good chance on 70 minutes to put his side ahead. After good work by Bryan and Crook on the left, the ball broke to the substitute just inside the area but he mis-hit his shot which went to Ray who could only find Smith’s midriff.
As the game entered the last 10 minutes, Vines had yet another attempt saved well down low by Smith and the rebound agonisingly rolled past Pigden before he could get a foot on it.
Carshalton hearts were broken three minutes from time when Leon Smith picked up the ball, drove into the box past two defenders and slotted past an on-rushing Hamann to give his side victory.