Defeat increases relegation fears

By Jamie Arrowsmith Monday 04 February 2013 Updated: 06/02 18:21

Heather St. John's 2 Highgate United 0

Midland Alliance

HIGHGATE dropped back into the relegation zone following Saturday's disappointing defeat.

The visitors enjoyed long spells of possession, particularly in a goalless first half, yet slumped to defeat against a side who showed more passion after the break to take all three points.

With Liam Florey and Trevor Edwards both missing, and Dan Povey, having left the club, boss Keith Checketts found his options limited. The starting XI still had a strong look to it though with Toby Checketts starting for the first time since November and Karl King partnering DJ Pitt up front in a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Gate looked the more attack minded early on with Pitt's cross off Ollie Casey's pass failing to failing to find a fellow player whilst King could not react quickly enough to make the most of Neil Kitching's square ball into the box.

Checketts headed a corner wide and King dragged the ball wide from six-yards after good work between Casey and Pitt as the pressure grew.

Harry Harris' audacious overhead kick flew high and wide at the other end with what was the hosts' only attempt of the first half.

Going back on the attack, Gate saw Jake Brown fail to trouble William Stannage from long range and King have a volley saved before being denied by some fine Lewis Gorle defending after excellent work from Alex Price.

King and Price maintained the pressure with late efforts saved by Stannage but as the half time whistle sounded, there was a buzz in the Highgate camp, and amongst supporters, that the game was there for the taking.

Such optimism was cruelly dashed within three minutes of the restart though when the visitors were caught on the break with Shane Gibbs the man to burst through and calmly slot the ball past Edwards.

It took a good save from Edwards to deny Gibbs a second almost immediately after, a crucial save which allowed the visitors to regroup.

Pitt's inswinging cross was palmed away by Stannage and King grazed the top of the woodowork with a strong header from Casey's floated cross as Gate searched for an equaliser that just would not come.

Heather almost doubled their lead when Edwards again denied Gibbs, the keeper then being relieved to see the forward blaze a golden opportunity well off target.

With captain Tom Reynolds urging his side forward, King wasted a 65th minute chance to level the score when finding himself clear of the defence, only for his lobbed effort to clear the keeper and the bar.

Brown then saw a shot deflected behind but the more they pressed, the more Gate left themselves exposed at the back and substitute Conal Powell took full advantage to drill home in the 82nd minute with Ryan Nash providing the assist.

Bennett fired wide from 25-yards and Andy Fraher went close with a late header but it was not to be Highgate's day.

They will hope for more fortune on Saturday when they host Coleshill Town (3pm) before Bridgnorth Town visit on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

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