CLINICAL GATE LEAVE CONTINENTAL STAR-STRUCK
Six of the very best for a Highgate side which romped to a comfortable win, a brace apiece from Brown and Benjamin plus 1 apeice for Edgington & Adams
Six of the very best for a Highgate side which romped to a comfortable win over strugglers Continental Star, a brace apiece from Lei Brown and Shane Benjamin and one each for Nathan Edgington and Joe Adams completing a satisfying afternoon for Lee Adams’ men, the culmination of what must rank as Gate’s most consistent performance of the season.
For the first time this campaign Highgate bossed play for the majority of the ninety minutes and apart from a sloppy spell fifteen minutes from the end, during which they spoilt what should have been a clean sheet, fully deserved the three points resulting from six goals of the highest quality, divided equally between each half. Missing Adam Daly, Karl King, Jamie Bailey and Danny Kerrigan manager Adams was able to welcome back captain Trevor Edwards for a starting place in midfield with Danny Rolfe continuing in his right full back role, whilst the experienced Chris Jay made his Highgate debut as a replacement for loanee goalkeeper Stuart Parsons on the latter’s return to parent club Solihull Moors.
Star made an instant impact with some stylish passing football, Craig Hall across to clear at Anthony Robinson’s feet but the visitors’ bright start was to be immediately dimmed when for the second week in succession the hosts went on to take a second minute lead. A quick counter attack ended with Brown leaving defenders in his wake as he burst into the box finishing with aplomb by crashing an angled shot low into the far bottom corner of the net.
Relaxed by such an early goal Gate turned on the style, Brown close to a second goal when with keeper Robert Dolman beaten his header off Rolfe’s free kick, awarded for a foul on Edwards, came out off the underside of the cross bar. Adams was unlucky not to control Edgington’s ball into the box with back to goal, and when play swung to the other end defender Dean Curtis rose to make a crucial headed clearance with Robinson waiting at his shoulder. Daniel Moses finished off a brief period of Star pressure with an overhead kick hit weakly off target and although Rolfe survived an appeal for hand ball there was little threat from a visiting attack more a danger to itself though constant bickering than it was to the home defence, it being Gate which looked the more adventurous of the two sides with Benjamin and Adams both having efforts charged down following determined play by Edgington down the left hand side before Benjamin struck in 25th minute to double the advantage.
A nudge on Edwards led to Rolfe’s forty yard free kick being nodded down by Brown for Benjamin to drive an unstoppable first time volley well beyond Dolman’s reach, an impeccable finish to a well executed second goal. Nathan Pulisciano and Adams combined to halt a rare foray into the Highgate box by Rico Taylor and Star were unlucky not to find the net when Rolfe was perfectly placed at the foot of his right hand post to head Dean Wellington’s goal bound shot off the line. Hall and Curtis were proving dominant at the heart of the home defence, in particular in aerial duels, and with Daryl Jones quick to close down any scent of danger in the middle of the park Gate were allowed a period of composed passing football, Benjamin being the beneficiary firing in his second goal with yet another immaculate finish after Adams’ 30th minute cross had fallen nicely beyond the reach of centre half Josh O’Garro.
Leading by three exceptional goals Gate were by now well on top, Edwards and Benjamin setting up Brown for an attempt struck into Dolman’s body, the keeper then saving well to turn aside Brown’s close range shot fired in off the outside of the left boot. Dolman continued to see action racing out of his area to kick Brown’s headed pass away from Adams, Benjamin a yard too high from twenty five yards and full back Hoslidio Dos-Santos heading Edwards’ cross to safety at his near post, Gate finishing the half with a commanding lead which based on the number of chances created could and should have been by a far greater margin.
HT Highgate United 3 v 0 Continental Star.
Immediately after the break Jones clipped a ball over the Star defence just too long for Edgington to catch and although the visitors had come out in a far more positive frame of mind Hall and his defenders were easily able to deal with any attacking threat posed, especially down the middle where Robinson was struggling to make any real impact, although Dos- Santos did send a long range attempt flashing past the untroubled Jay’s right hand post.
Five minutes into the half came Gate’s fourth goal, Edgington making no mistake from five yards out after O’Garro had failed to deal with a cross whipped in by Brown to the far post. Pulisciano delivered yet another cross this time missed by Benjamin and fortunate to be cleared off his own line by Dos-Santos guarding the far post, Brown then closer still with a twelve yard drive despatched marginally wide. Benjamin was then twice wasteful with a header and a twelve yarder, the prelude to a sloppy period of Highgate play which led to Jay snatching substitute James Reid’s header out of the air but being beaten when Dwayne Robinson pulled a goal back with a 75th minute header.
Stung by conceding Gate were again close to extending their lead when Tom Reynolds slipped a pass through for Brown to test Dolman with a shot into the keeper’s body, the fifth goal not long in coming when following a six pass build up play Adams found Brown for the league’s leading scorer to beat a stationary Dolman with an exquisite twenty yard lob. The sixth and final goal involved substitute Jordan Adams winning the ball in the middle of the park, Tom Lacey carrying play on for Joe Adams to drill the final pass under Dolman’s body, the perfect finish to an outstanding and dominant Highgate display.
Highgate United Jay; Rolfe (Adams Jordan 80); Pulisciano; Curtis; Hall; Adams; Edwards (c); Jones (Reynolds 60); Benjamin (Lacey 72); Edgington; Brown Substitutes not used: Daly; Kerrigan
Continental Star: Robert Dolman; Dwayne Robinson; Hoslidio Dos-Santos; Dean Wellington; Michael Crawford; Josh O’Garro; Rico Taylor; Franklin Hazell; Anthony Robinson; Davion Hamilton (c); Daniel Moses; Substitutes: Troyvan Powell; Darren Green; James Reid; Martin Crawford; Simeon Cobourne