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By Jamie Arrowsmith Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 17:17
Coventry Sphinx 1 Highgate United 2
DJ PITT bagged a brace as ten-man Highgate United picked up a much needed three points in their fight against relegation.
It proved to be a dour contest on Saturday but Gate were relieved to emerge with all three points, for just the fifth time this season, lifting themselves to 18th place in the table and out of the drop zone at the same time.
Gate opened up a 2-0 lead before Sphinx pulled one back on the stroke of half time and their task was made even more difficult when Trevor Edwards saw red with 30 minutes left, but the visitors held on.
Things did not start well for Keith Checketts' side as Alex Price withdrew in the warm-up, resulting in Elroy Bennett earning a starting place up front whilst Dan Povey made a welcome return.
Sphinx's Richie Cutting had the game's first chance but blasted over after his initial shot had been blocked whilst at the other end, Edwards fed Ollie Casey to cross but his ball into the box eluded the waiting Povey at the far post.
The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute when good determination from Andy Fraher led to him winning possession before feeding Bennett to fire goalwards and Pitt was on hand to turn the ball home.
Gate went straight back on the front foot and Pitt quickly added a second, finishing clinically after good work from Casey and Povey created the opportunity.
Their lead was cut to one by half time though as Cutting found time to power home a shot off the bar after Gate struggled to clear a free kick that had been driven into the box.
Sphinx captain Kyle Rhodes went close to equalising at the start of the second half with a 15-yard drive that was just off target before Jackson finished carelessly when well placed.
Edwards' afternoon appeared to be somewhat harshly cut short on the hour when he saw red following a mass flare up on halfway with a number of yellow cards following.
Gate dug in well to hold on to their lead with Dan Dineen working tirelessly at the back and they also had a bit of luck on their side as Jackson saw an effort come back off the bar.
The visitors still posed a threat despite being a man short and they were presented with a golden chance to make it 3-1 when Cutting fouled Fraher in the box but Pitt's spot kick failed to hit the target.
Reynolds also went close in the dying seconds after being released by Bennett but his miss was not to prove costly as Gate held on.
Studley are the visitors to Tythe Barn Lane (3pm) on Saturday before Gate travel to Dunkirk on Tuesday (7.45pm).
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