FOOTBALL: TWO GOALS proved to be enough for Highgate United as they advanced to the Fourth Round of the JW Hunt Cup after beating a stubborn and well organised AFC Wulfrunians side.
It was only until the last 15 minutes Highgate could break the Wulfrunians defensive unit as the visitors remained strong before conceding twice in the closing minutes of play.
The win meant Highgate booked their place in the semi-final stage of the competition – the winners of which will play in the grand final at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molyneux stadium.
Wulfrunians didn’t make it easy for Highgate in the second half as the visitors applied considerable pressure and created numerous chances, with Highgate rarely looking comfortable on a night of untidy football.
Manager Ashley Pulisciano made two changes to the side which earned a draw at Shepshed Dynamo a week ago – with Nathan Puliscianocoming in for Orrin Pendley and Ricardo Richards coming in for Marco Adaggio.
Highgate’s Trevor Edwards and Josh Hawker combined to set up McCauley Manning in the tenth minute, though his shot curled just wide of keeper Liam Stanton’s left hand post.
Though Highgate had the possession, Wulfrunians frequently caught the home side on the break – with Demetri Brown denied two opportunities by some committed defensive work from Joe Cole.
Highgate went close on the stroke of half time as Brown set up Richards for a 30-yard lob, which ended up on the wrong side of the crossbar.
Jack Parrish almost put Wulfrunians ahead shortly after the half-time break as his header went across the face of goal – which Demetri Brown couldn’t quite convert.
At the other end Stanton produced an outstanding point blank save to keep out Manning’s close range effort as Wulfrunians enjoyed a spell of pressure.
Stanton again did well to deny Highgate a goal in the 74th minute when Richards found himself onside and clear on goal, though his shot was off target.
Embarrassment was soon avoided though as Johnson toe poked his shot through a crowded box to go in off the right hand post.
Highgate then doubled their lead through Hawker slipped a quickly taken free kick to Manning who lifted a gentle shot over Stanton and into the roof of the net to confirm victory.