RUSSELL Dodd says the 3-2 defeat away to rock-bottom Selston flattered his side in the Midland League Premier Division last weekend.
Highgate United remain 12th despite the loss, which proved their 11th of the campaign and third in succession, with substitutes Isaac Jagroop and Connor Doyle reducing the deficit with late strikes.
The Gate manager admits he was unable to take heart from the showing in Nottinghamshire and said: “It’s not a game I can really put a positive spin on.
“Perhaps we underestimated a side full of new faces but once again we never got out of the starting blocks.
“We only woke up late on with those two goals, which, from our perspective, just ended up giving the final score a rather flattering look.”
With James Beeson serving the first of his three-match ban for a straight red in the previous game at South Normanton Athletic, Ryan Conlon appeared between the sticks for Highgate.
Unfortunately for him, he was unable to prevent Ben Moore from putting the hosts in front on eight minutes.
While the visitors threatened to pull level through Luke Barlone and James Wilcock efforts, they instead full further behind on 32 minutes when Lewis Fantom buried a strike from the edge of the box.
Matters were made worse approaching the midway point of the second half as Selston’s Henry Brooks put the hosts out of sight on 65 minutes.
Or so it seemed, as Jagroop’s 72nd-minute header and Doyle’s penalty ten minutes later put the Gate within one goal of their opponents.
That was as good as it would get for Dodd’s men though, prior to Wednesday night’s visit to leaders Coventry United (7.45pm) and a trip to 15th-placed Coventry Sphinx on Saturday (3pm).
DIVISION One Chelmsley Town go into their first fixture in three weeks on Saturday, when they welcome Kirby Muxloe to Pack Meadow (3pm).
Having last turned out on January 25 in a slender 1-0 defeat away to Heath Hayes, Steve Solomon’s 18th-placed side attempt to put right their lowly league position against a Muxloe outfit seven points ahead of them in 14th.
SOLIHULL United manager Sam Manoochehri has urged his players to get back to showing the qualities that have put them top of Division Two when they host Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons on Saturday (3pm).
A 3-0 defeat away to Feckenham last weekend, where Jake Donnelly, Jamie Hatfield and Danny Murphy all netted for the hosts, was a disappointing outcome for the leaders – who have suffered indifferent form since the turn of the year.
The message from Manoochehri is now very much clear ahead of the next game – play the expansive football that has put us in this position.
“We’re at home so I will be looking for the lads to play football, we didn’t play any last Saturday,” he said.
“One, because of the magnitude of the game and two, because of the conditions. It was really difficult so I want to see us get the ball down and play this weekend.
“We need to get back to what we do well and prove why we have been top of the league for so long.
“It was a massive learning curve, this is exactly why we put the lads in this league for these types of games, where the conditions and the pitch aren’t great.”
KNOWLE took full advantage of Solihull United’s slip-up by reducing their lead to a single point at the top of Division Two, courtesy of a 2-0 win at home to Barnt Green Spartak.
Brandon Hague and substitute George Seeley struck for The Robins in a scrappy encounter at Hampton Road, extending their unbeaten run in the league to 13 games.
With a game in hand over their title rivals, Clive Seeley’s men will be confident of extending that run further when hosting Coventry Alvis, who are eighth, on Saturday (2.30pm).
RESIDING in 11th are Hampton, who fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Northfield Town at the weekend.
Thomas Crane’s 27th-minute penalty was the difference for high-flying Town at Field Lane, despite Hampton being down to ten men for the final 32 minutes of play after James Loney’s red card.
On Saturday, a trip to Alcester Town – who are level on points but a place behind in 12th – offers an ideal opportunity to put right their three-game winless streak (2.30pm).
TOM Reynolds’ Earlswood Town were no match for in-form Coton Green at the weekend, going down 3-1 at the Pavilions.
Green extended their winning run to eight games thanks to a Paul Bonar double and one from Sonny Cartwright, while Simon Quigley netted the response for the hosts.
A penalty conceded by Matt Green gave the visitors’ Curvin Ellis the chance to put his side in front from the spot, only for Earls goalkeeper Dan Farr to deny the forward with his feet, before the rebound was headed wide.
With the second opportunity from 12 yards that fell their way, Coton Green took it, this time finding the net when Bonnar slammed home.
A second goal just before half-time condemned the Earls further, as Bonar’s cross was diverted into the net by Green.
Captain Quigley gave the hosts some hope when he fired home on the rebound from a free-kick after the break, prompting a barrage of attacking pressure from the Earls for the final 20 minutes.
The best opportunity of that spell fell to Leadun Dunlevy, who met the ball with power but with not enough direction to beat Coton’s ‘keeper.
Instead, a counter-attack from the away side settled the game. This time it was Cartwright who provided the clinical touch after a free run at goal with minutes remaining, to the anguish of the exerted Earls.
Earlswood hope to put things right in Saturday’s trip to Fairfield Villa (2.30pm).
A SLIP-UP by FC Shush knocked them back in their hunt for a top-three place after a 3-1 defeat by Upton Town.
Max Ferriday, William Green and Ryan Shemwell were the Upton goalscorers at Lugtrout Lane, nullifying a Chris Noonan strike for fifth-placed Shush, who visit Inkberrow in second in Saturday’s Division Three meeting (2.30pm).
INTIQAB Ali and Daniel Ofori Mintah goals helped Birmingham Tigers mark their territory in a 2-1 defeat of Shipston Excelsior.
After a goalless opening, the scoring did not get underway until the 68th minute of play when Ali lobbed the goalkeeper, followed by Ofori Mintah’s sweet strike with the outside of his foot four minutes later.
While Connor Grant issued a reply for the rock-bottom hosts with three minutes remaining, the Tigers roared to a sixth victory of the season to keep them in ninth.
Enville Athletic, two places behind in 11th, are the hosts for Saturday’s encounter (2.30pm).
INKBERROW heaped further misery on AFC Solihull by running out 3-0 winners at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.
It was the Eagles’ second win against AFC in the space of a week, with Nathan Davies (2) and Christopher Parish on target for the away side.
Jon Hill’s side, currently 14th, welcome fourth-placed Continental Star on Saturday (2.30pm).