On an afternoon of torrential rain, Bury Town inflicted a 4-2 defeat on Wingate & Finchley in a game that was a great end-to-end contest between two attractive teams.
Wingate fielded two debutants in James Gershfield and Jack Hutchinson and both fitted neatly into the side.
The opening exchanges were fluid on the wet surface as both sides threatened. For Bury, an incredible shot from John Sands on the half-volley struck the inside of the far post and he was unlucky to see the ball fizz back across the face of goal and spin out for a goal kick.
At the other end, a whipped cross from John Kyriacou was aimed at Daniel McGonigle, who moved in front of his man but skimmed a header wide.
As possession flowed both ways throughout the half, Bury took the lead in the 24th minute as the Wingate defence was stretched with a quick build-up and Sands earned a free header to score from a Coulson cross.
Within a minute, the visitors dramatically drew level. Scott Shulton played an incisive ball wide to release overlapping full-back Kieron Street. He skidded a low cross into the centre and Murat Karagul was brave as he slid the ball home inches ahead of his marker in the muddy goalmouth.
The lively Gershfield broke forwards down the right on a few occasions and never wasted possession. On one attack he cut in and side-footed a shot on target which was parried by keeper Marcus Garnham. Leon Smith followed up to collect the loose ball but he pulled his shot wide of the goal.
The half-time scoreline was fair but Bury restored their lead just one minute after the break. A simple attack down left wing by Sam Reed saw the ball squared all the way to the far post where Sands slid home - despite a miskick which actually helped the ball to narrowly evade the desperate dive in the mud from Nielsen.
A second quick equaliser was to follow, as Wingate levelled just a few minutes later hitting Bury on a counter attack. With the defence holding a high line, an accurate ball over the top was perfectly weighted into the path of Leon Smith who bore down on Garnham and fired the ball over him into the roof of the net.
However the crazy spell continued as Bury retook the lead a few minutes later. A left-wing cross from Coulson fortuitously flew over Bobby Smith and landed straight in the goal.
By this time Wingate had been forced into two substitutions. McGonigle went off at half-time, and soon afterwards Hutchinson popped his shoulder out as he landed awkwardly. The changes did not immediately disrupt the visitors. Karagul had now switched to the right wing and his inswinging cross to the near post was attacked by Gershfield, but he was inches away from reaching the ball and flicking it past the keeper.
Bury sat back as the half wore on and allowed Wingate good spells of possession. The pitch however was becoming increasingly heavy and difficult to read.
However for all of Wingate's play, a sloppy goal let Sam Reed kill the game by doubling the hosts' lead after a misunderstanding between Nielsen and Bobby Smith.
In the closing stages a Shulton free-kick that was aimed accurately towards top left corner was kept out by a superb diving save.
Wingate & Finchley: B Smith, Weatherstone, Street, Kyriacou, Nielsen, Shulton, Gershfield (Milner 67), McGonigle (Henry 46), L Smith, Hutchinson (Burrell 52), Karagul. Substitutes: Wright and Gardiner.