Wingate & Finchley’s record goalscorer Leon Smith moves to Ryman League rivals Hendon
Wingate & Finchley’s record goalscorer Leon Smith has completed a move from the Blues to near neighbours and Ryman League Premier Division rivals Hendon.
The 28-year-old forward, who joined W&F in 2009 and went on to score 110 goals for the club, became frustrated with a lack of first-team football – and he made his debut for Hendon on Tuesday night, appearing as a substitute in the Dons’ 1-0 win over Billericay Town.
Wingate’s director of football David Norman said: “Leon has been a fantastic servant to the football club over the last five seasons.
“He has had a major part in the club’s success over this time. However, it is now time for Leon to move on and rekindle the form of old.
“He is still only 28 years old and has lots of football to look forward to. I am immensely proud of him and what he has achieved here at Wingate.”
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Norman went on: “Just five years ago Leon was playing Sunday league football, and he has proven he can be a prolific goalscorer at this level.
“On Sunday I had a long conversation with him and we both felt that a fresh challenge would be in both the club’s interest and his.
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“Leon will always be welcome here at Wingate & Finchley FC and has left the club with our best wishes for the future.”
On the pitch, Wingate’s poor form continued as they suffered two defeats in the space of four days.
On Saturday, Wingate were punished for a poor first-half performance as they lost 1-0 at home to Leiston. Joe Francis side-footed the only goal of the contest just before half-time.
Leon Smith almost crowned his last appearance for Wingate with a goal, but was inches away from connecting with a cross in the second half.
Daniel Nielsen’s side then travelled to Hampton & Richmond Borough on Tuesday night, where another defeat sent them closer to the relegation zone.
Again, Wingate were made to pay for a sloppy opening, as the hosts dominated the opening half, scoring twice.
Charlie Moone had already tested Bobby Smith with an early volley, before he opened the scoring with a spectacular looping effort, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Stuart Lake doubled the lead for Hampton on the half-hour mark, rifling into the net after a poor clearance. Adam Bolle hit the post for Wingate soon afterwards, as he tried to place a header from OIa Williams’ cross.
The Blues improved in the second half, and they went close again when new signing Anton Olondo sent a volley narrowly wide.
Meanwhile, Hendon stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier Division to four matches with a 3-2 win over Margate on Saturday, followed by a 1-0 victory over Billericay Town on Tuesday evening.
Jefferson Louis, Casey Maclaren and Anthony Thomas were all on target against Margate, while Adam Wallace hit the winner against Billericay.