FRUSTRATED Highgate United manager Russell Dodd has warned his players to be prepared for sterner challenges ahead following a last-gasp defeat away to Lye Town.
Gate were on level terms heading into the final few minutes, despite having two players sent off, following Isaac Jagroop’s leveller that cancelled out Emils Fedotovs’ early strike, until the visitors were eventually undone by Adam Meacham’s late volley.
Dodd felt his side threw away a valuable point in the Midland Football League Premier Division clash, and said: “We shot ourselves in the foot throughout a game during which I felt we were the better side.
“We gave away an early goal then never really recovered from the sending off of Wilco [James Wilcock] and when Isaac went near the end I would have been more than content to settle for a point.
“With at least two suspended players missing for the visit of Tividale next Saturday, the coming weeks will be a real test of character for a group of players who are far better than their current league position would suggest.”
Highgate arrived at The Sports Ground without the departed Connor Doyle, who moved on to Romulus last week, meaning Cameron Collins was handed a rare appearance from the start.
While the visitors started brightly, they still found themselves having to chase the game when a mix-up between James Beeson and Sam Oji gifted Armani Bennett with the simple task of guiding the ball into the back of an open net.
Circumstances quickly went from bad to worse when James Wilcock was shown a straight red for a challenge on Ryan Bridgewater, though Dodd’s men continued to persevere and were rewarded with Jagroop’s headed equaliser before the break.
The share of chances favoured the away side in the second half despite the man disadvantage as Highgate went on the search for a go-ahead goal, twice going close when Corey Currithers and Miracle Okafor hit the woodwork.
But with Jagroop shown a second yellow with 15 minutes to go, momentum switched in Lye’s favour to set the stage for Meacham’s last-gasp winner.
Highgate are 15th and host 11th-placed Tividale at The Coppice on Saturday (3pm).