GATE FALL AT THIRD VASE HURDLE
A last minute goal saw Highgate dumped out of the Vase after Josh Hawker's late penalty looked to be sending the game into extra time
FA Vase - Third Round
Highgate United 1 v 2 Coleshill Town
A highly entertaining Vase clash ended with Coleshill in the hat for the Fourth Round draw, the only pity being that there had to be a loser at the end of an evenly fought local derby encounter decided late on by a clinical Dean Rathbone brace, the winner coming just minutes from the final whistle and sixty seconds after a Josh Hawker penalty had put the teams back on level terms. The three goals had all been scored in the final twelve minutes of an exciting contest which despite being end to end had up to that point failed to produce many clear cut chances, defences on top throughout with very little given away and neither keeper having been seriously tested. Gate's defeat was the third in different cup competitions in the space of just ten days, Ashley Puilsciano's team left to solely concentrate on the league, and on the evidence of this display and those recently against Bromsgrove Sporting and Worcester City having a big say as to which sides make what might this season be two promotion spots. With a full squad available joint bosses Puilisciano and Craig Woodley had selection decisions to make ahead of Gate's first ever Vase Fourth Round match, Lei and Aaron Brown returning to the starting eleven, James Wilcock given preference over Scott Rickards with the latter struggling to get over recent knocks. A strong bench included Richard Bryan, recent signing Danico Johnson and George Curry. Table topping Coleshill, one of last season's semi-finalists, provided the toughest of opposition for a Highgate side whose recent form overall has been erratic to say the least, a heavy rain soaked pitch not helping either, the visitors starting brightly with Trevor Edwards twice making headed clearances in the middle of the park and Aaron Brown getting across to sweep up from Joe Halsall down the right hand side. Wilcock was seeing a lot of the ball on Highgate's right but unable to deliver a purposeful cross beyond the first man on the edge of the box, the first moment both of note and mystery coming after just five minutes. Ryan Edmunds had run in towards the box, Nathan Pulisciano behind his man got in what might at best be described as a rash challenge, the referee's assistant raising his flag for a penalty, his boss pointing to the spot, but with Coleshill players consulting each other as to who would take the kick so a quick discussion and catch up between the two men in black resulted in the decision being overturned and a corner awarded! A let off for a Highgate side which immediately went on the offensive, Marco Adaggio sneaking the ball off former Coppice favourite Joe Cole, directing a cross over the face of goal with the stretching Lei Brown unable to get a final touch, Hawker then setting up Wilcock for a shot deflected low into keeper Paul Hathaway's hands. Rathbone tested Brad Catlow with a thirty yard free kick, albeit harmlessly, but what little attacking play there was coming at the other end, Aaron Brown well wide with a header off a Hawker free kick and Edwards' optimistic thirty yard volley more of a threat to the corner flag than Hathaway's goal. Not much to choose between the sides during the opening twenty minutes, plenty of promise but so far nothing delivered, Aaron Brown close with a thirty yard free kick just inches the wrong side of the upright, Lei Brown then curling a Wilcock' pass into Hathaway's hands. A good spell from the hosts, Hathaway punching out Duane Courtney's long throw but only out to the full back whose return volley failed to trouble the custodian. Scott Turner headed out a Rathbone free kick but so far Town had not been a threat and when Rathbone was given space on the end of a Rob Evans' free kick the resulting shot was carelessly high. Evans was then back in his own half with a firm tackle to deny Adaggio a clear break on goal having been set up by Lei Brown, Cole then in ahead of Wilcock to intercept Aaron Brown's cross field pass which if missed could so easily have seen the wide midfield man through on goal. The half finished with Gate enjoying a good spell and Hathaway tipping Hawker's in-swinging corner on to the roof of the net, but neither side having so far created enough to break the deadlock.
H-T Highgate United 0 v 0 Coleshill Town
Coleshill began the second half in a far more determined fashion, keeping possession for longer periods than throughout the first half, Rathbone's elusive cross sent flashing over the face of goal but with no white and blue shirt tempted by the opportunity. Aaron Brown defended well to halt an Edmunds' run into the box, Gate gradually getting back into the game, Hawker's effort blocked, Evans defending his post to clear Mooney's low cross, Lei Brown then getting a touch on an Adaggio attempt only to turn the ball behind. It was Coleshill's turn to enjoy the better of play for a short while but still with little threat, and if anything Gate were proving the more creative but failing to make the most of a series of half chances. Adaggio did have the ball in the roof of the net but the whistle had already blown for a Lei Brown foul on the keeper, Brown himself then despatching an angled drive into Hathaway's body. Catlow's first meaningful save kept out an effort from Halsall held at the second attempt, Edwards getting his body in the way of Evans' ten yard volley. Play continued end to end, Hawker curling a twenty yarder over the bar and when Hathaway fumbled a Rickards' corner Curry struck the loose ball into the grateful keeper's hands. Then in 78th minute and totally out of the blue the visitors were to forge ahead, a quickly taken throw leading to Rathbone breaking down his left hand side cutting in and beating Catlow with a low angled drive. Gate responded with Adaggio having the ball in the net only for the whistle to have blown for an offside and with five minutes remaining Gate were to be thrown a lifeline, Lei Brown going down in the box under a head high boot, Hawker calmly tucking away the resulting penalty. Just four minutes later came what was to prove the winner, Gate caught out by Edmunds' strong run down the right flank a perfectly delivered cross fired in by Rathbone at close range. Late Gate pressure in search of a second equaliser was to prove unsuccessful, the advancing Catlow nearest to a goal with a deft flick off the left boot wide of the right hand upright, Gate perhaps unlucky not to have taken the game to a replay and Coleshill left knowing they are unlikely to face a tougher encounter however far their Vase journey takes them.
Highgate United: Catlow Courtney (Curry 74) Pulisciano Edwards Turner Brown A (c) Wilcock (Rickards 70) Hawker Adaggio Mooney (Johnson 80) Brown L Substitutes not used: Bryan Hayward (g/k)
Coleshill Town: Paul Hathaway Jorna Moulton Joe Cole Rob Evans Tom Fishwick Danny Tymon Ryan Edmunds Joe Halsall (c) Reece Leek Dean Rathbone Giovanni Dainty Substitutes: Luke Edwards Chris Gibson James Medford Anton Astley Luke Barlone