GATE UNHINGED AT CAUSEWAY
A dramatic late goal coupled with The Gate being denied twice by the woodwork resulted in an undeserved defeat for Lee Adams' men.
Joe Lawley’s 88th minute goal condemned Highgate to a second defeat in the space of four days, but this was a far better performance from the visitors who displayed grit and determination during a contest which they shaded throughout, twice being denied by the woodwork of what would have been a fully deserved win.
Once again though manager Lee Adams was forced to work miracles with a much reduced squad, Danny Rolfe and Dean Curtis out for the remaining three games of the season with Daryl Jones, Shane Benjamin, Karl King and Nathan Edgington declaring themselves unavailable for Gate’s last away fixture of the campaign.
Sam Hornby came in for Chris Jay in goal, with Jordan Adams making his first full start and Tom Reynolds returning to accompany Craig Hall at the heart of defence. Adams’ men made a positive start with Hall picking out Tom Lacey on the left hand side but Lei Brown was only able to run the resulting pass out for a goal kick. Reynolds and Hall both stood their ground to win aerial challenges at the back, Hornby the first keeper to be tested tipping Sam Beasley’s sixth minute close range header behind for a corner.
Richard Robinson took the sting out of Spencer Blackham’s ten yard shot, Gate responding well with Brown and Nathan Pulisciano combining to free Lacey for a finish deflected behind. Robinson side footed Joe Adams’ corner into goalkeeper Tom Turner’s hands, Brown’s downward header then getting stuck in a heavily sanded goalmouth allowing Turner to make a comfortable save.
Twice Hornby saved low down to deny Beasley and Darren Whitley at the foot of either post, but Gate survived those couple of scary moments, Turner at the other end doing well to catch Pulisciano’s deep cross under pressure from Brown.
Joe Adams stung Turner’s fingers from twelve yards out, but although Gate were starting to spread the ball about in a more confident manner there was little to choose between the two teams during the opening period. Jordan Adams firstly curled the ball into Turners’ hands from the right hand side of the box then forced the keeper to save at his near post, Brown having a scissor kick charged down.
Lacey cut in from the left for an effort struck against a defender’s outstretched leg, Hall and Reynolds both calmly playing through balls back to Hornby. Although the threat had been taken out of the home side’s attacking play it was the sandcastles in front of Hornby’s goal line which came to the keeper’s rescue where a spilled ball remained firmly stuck allowing Hall to appear out of the dust bowl and clear the danger.
Despite all the hard work, and with Brown closely marked up front, an evenly balanced half ended goalless but judged against performances of late Gate feeling more than satisfied with the effort put in so far.
HT Causeway United 0 v 0 Highgate United
Luke Fuller controlled an early second half clearance despatching his twenty yard volley wide, Reece Lynch then bursting through but unable to pick out Brown in space on the right hand side of the box. Brown’s far side header looped narrowly over the bar off Lacey’s cross, build up play being good but the final ball unfortunately lacking. Brown released Lynch for a daisy cutter kept out by Turner at the second attempt, Lynch then moving Robinson’s pass out to Brown forced wide on the left the final shot bringing a good save out of the keeper.
Causeway centre half Ryan Wollacott remained cool under pressure heading the ball back to Turner with Brown in chase, the home side by now restricted to the odd counter attack, Beasley high and wide with his side’s first shot of the half, Fuller then back to tackle Beasley in the act of shooting from twelve yards out. Hornby’s firm punch cleared Beasley’s inswinging corner the keeper then reacting at his left hand post to palm Will Tibbetts’ half volley behind.
Gate continued a positive period of play, Brown curling a twenty yard free kick high, Reynolds appearing at the far post for a header scrambled for a corner, Brown’s subsequent attempt seemingly destined for the far bottom corner until somehow kept out by Turner. At the other end Rion Francis-Mills should have done better than lift the ball over the bar, whilst Brown was then close with a shot driven into the side netting.
Gate survived another scare when Tibbetts dragged an opportunity beyond the far post, a miss followed by Gate twice hitting the woodwork, the cross bar and outside of the near post denying headers from the industrious and extremely unlucky Brown.
Gate had a let off of their own when Francis–Mills dinked his shot behind off the outside of Hornby’s right hand upright. But with time running out and Gate looking to have earned a merited point so the hosts struck their late winner, a goal which came in slow motion with the ball somehow finding its way to the unchallenged Lawley who in almost total surprise stood alone on the edge of the box before having all the time in the world to hit his shot low into the bottom corner of Hornby’s net.
A late surge saw Turner smother the ball at Lacey’s feet, Gate finishing losers but able to take pride in what had been a hard worked ninety minutes of football and deserving far more than to go home empty handed.
Highgate United: Hornby; Robinson; Pulisciano; Reynolds; Hall; Adams (Joe); Adams (Jordan); Fuller; Lynch; Lacey; Brown
Substitutes: King; Pulisciano (Ashley); Hayward; Blake; Daly; Rolfe