A SECOND half goal by Scott Turner proved to be the difference between Highgate and Littleton as Gate progressed to the quarter-final of the Midland Football League Cup.
First Division underdogs Littleton gave a good account of themselves on a night when for once the elements took second place at the first competitive fixture at the Coppice since November 17.
With several players out of action, manager Ashley Pulisciano will have been pleased that despite not playing well his patched up side was able to grind out a result against what turned out to be spirited opposition.
Although Littleton started the better of the two sides, chances were few and far between and when there was a threat from the visitors Scott Turner was forced into a couple of early challenges to close down firstly Ben Johns and then Kyonn Evans.
Bradley Catlow held on to Evans’ close range header which should have caused more of a problem but the best chance of the half fell late on to Lei Brown who came off second best in a one-on-one with Littleton keeper Haydn Whitcombe.
Gate’s play improved after the break and the deadlock was nearly broken on 55 minutes when Brown curled a 25-yard free kick against the woodwork.
James Loney’s handball on the hour mark almost led to the equaliser with Ben Johns’ free kick creeping through a forest of legs to end up the wrong side of the upright.
The only goal of what had turned into a scrappy contest came in 61st minute when Trevor Edwards’ perseverance winning a free kick floated into the box by Dale Taylor, Turner reacting quickest to sweep a bobbling ball past the despairing Whitcombe.
The visitors responded with Johns forcing Catlow into a fine finger tip save and the home keeper then saved Turner’s blushes with a brave block at the feet of Tim Beattie as the substitute looked to make the most of a sloppy back pass.
Taylor volleyed a Connor Mooney corner directly into Whitcombe’ body, the keeper then smartly off his line to snatch Nathan Corry’s through ball off Brown’s toes./
The hosts were to survive a late scare when in the dying seconds Littleton’s Sean Cooke broke strongly down the left to hit the perfect cross turned narrowly off target by Callum Clarke at the near post.
On Saturday Highgate are at home to Long Eaton United (3pm).