FOOTBALL: TWO second half strikes by Lei Brown and Josh Hawker booked Highgate a spot in the semi-final of the Polymac Packaging League Cup thanks to a 2-1 victory away at Walsall Wood.
Saturday’s clash was by no means a cup classic, however Brown and Hawker bagged the all important goals in a game that saw both sides reduced to ten men.
An early Hawker free kick set up the first chance of the game but Brown was off target with what appeared to be a free header.
Keeper Brendon Bunn put himself under pressure with a poor clearance but he was fortunate that Molesworth was unable to take advantage with a drive fired high over the bar.
Pendley made ground down the right for a cross touched on by Adaggio but there was nobody on hand to take advantage while at the other end Bunn made a comfortable save from Drew Anton then parried Molesworth’s far post header.
Home goalkeeper Andy Hughes saved a Hawker free kick and soon after Manning teed up Aaron Brown for a far post header despatched over the bar.
Adaggio fired a Pulisciano cross over the face of goal and with the half time whistle about to blow Aaron Brown struck the foot of Hughes’ right hand upright from a 20-yard free kick as the teams went in level at the break.
James Loney replaced the injured Cole at the break and straight from the kick off Adaggio played through an early ball but Lei Brown was unable to get any power behind a header off Manning’s subsequent cross.
Lei Brown’s 53rd minute shot into the back of the net was unfortunately ruled out for offside and within 60 seconds the hosts were reduced to ten men when substitute Ricardo Ricketts received a red card for denying Manning a clear run at goal.
Hughes did well to tip Hawker’s excellent free kick behind for a corner and Gate quickly made the most of the extra man breaking the deadlock in 57th minute when Lei Brown powerfully headed home Adaggio’s perfectly struck in-swinging corner.
Manning headed narrowly wide as Gate pushed for a second but the hosts were still proving to be a threat on the break. Bunn beat Maskell to long a through ball and then came out on top in a fierce challenge with Molesworth just outside the box.
Adaggio burst through only to disappoint with a shot driven high over the bar and the poor finish immediately punished when Butlin pulled the home side level with a close ranger effort 17 minutes from time.
Manning was just a fraction away from getting a crucial touch on Aaron Brown’s pass over the face of goal before the winner came in the 82nd minute.
Manning crossed to the far post where Lei Brown headed down into the mouth of the goal and Hawker appeared from nowhere to apply the finish and put Gate through to the final four.