RUSSELL Dodd hailed his Highgate United players for masterminding a Midland Football League Premier Division upset away at unbeaten Heather St John’s last weekend.
A 79th-minute penalty from Alex Price gave The Gate a first league win in a month at the joint-leaders, less than three weeks after a 2-0 reverse against the same opponents.
“Dave Stringer and I set out a game plan which we knew might prove successful against a team brimming with confidence,” said Dodd.
“I would put this down as our best performance of the season, the players responded in a positive fashion with a good all-round team display and showed once again that they are capable of matching any side in this division.
“What we need now is more consistency, as well as confidence in our own ability, if we are to pull away from what has become a crowded relegation zone.”
After the match officials deemed the playing surface adequate following two pitch inspections, the match got underway with Highgate the first to threaten when Isaac Jagroop’s deflected attempt rippled the side netting.
From the resulting corner, Miracle Okafor narrowly headed over, before Stuart Hendrie and Todd Yahiya both tested Heather custodian Stuart Parson with drives from distance.
The hosts eventually called United keeper James Beeson into action when Malachi Farquharson was denied from close range – the last action of a goalless opening half.
Despite failing to make the most of their first-half opportunities, Dodd’s charges still held the upper hand against their lacklustre opponents, going close to finding the all-important opener when Okafor flew a scissor kick narrowly wide.
The decisive goal came 11 minutes from time when substitute Ryan Conlon was shoved inside the box, allowing Price to fire home from 12 yards.
Highgate were able to see out the game with ease to move up to 14th ahead of a home game against 15th-placed Worcester City on Saturday (3pm).
Dodd’s side then visit Racing Club Warwick in the MFL League Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).