RUSSELL Dodd hailed the aerial prowess of Aaron Brown and Isaac Jagroop in Highgate United’s frontline in a 4-1 thrashing of Gresley.
The Gate moved back into tenth in the top half of the Midland League Premier Division table on Saturday, courtesy of Brown’s brace and one for Stuart Hendrie and Jagroop, after an 11th win of the campaign.
It marked a fine return to form for the club following a four-match losing run before the weekend, leaving Dodd in awe of United’s drive to battle their way to three points.
“Selection headaches are becoming the norm now, but I thought having the height of Aaron up front alongside another big man in Isaac would give us a big advantage,” he said.
“It seemed to work with both players on the scoresheet. It wasn’t a classic by any means, the windy conditions didn’t help.
“But all credit to the whole team for working hard to grind out a win against what were at times stubborn opposition.”
Despite the end result, an opening goal seemed hard to come by after very few chances of note throughout the opening half.
A rare clear-cut opportunity, prompted by a mistake from Gresley goalkeeper Ewan Mountjoy, afforded Conor Wright to strike at a gaping net – only to crash the ball against the post and out.
Highgate should have broken the deadlock when Jagroop went clean through on goal in the 35th minute, teeing the ball up for Hendrie in support, who saw his goalbound effort kept out by the outstretched leg of Mountjoy.
But two goals in as many minutes put the hosts in firm control of proceedings at The Coppice.
First, Hendrie opened the scoring with a simple finish after good work between Trevor Edwards and Jagroop – with the latter providing the second from close range two minutes later.
While Gresley were a mere bystander throughout the game, they did have a goal to their name to halve the deficit when Louis Briscoe fired home a 58th-minute penalty after a foul by goalkeeper Ryan Conlon.
No response would be issued by the lowly visitors though, who instead fell further behind through Brown’s penalty three minutes later, before converting from Sam Oji’s header seven minutes from time to complete his brace.
Dodd’s men host Racing Club Warwick (7.45pm) on Tuesday night, prior to Saturday’s home test against Stourport Swifts (3pm).
IT WAS the Dan Carter Show in Division One as Studley hit seven past Chelmsley Town last Friday night.
Carter’s four-goal showing, plus strikes from Jordan Jones (2) and Harvey Smith, put the Bees in seven heaven in the encounter played at Redditch United’s Trico Stadium.
The result leaves Chelmsley placed precariously just above the Division One drop zone in 18th, three points ahead of Nuneaton Griff.
Ultimately, the challenges do not get any easier for Steve Solomon’s charges, who host high-flying Uttoxeter Town on Saturday (3pm).
FIVE-STAR Solihull United remain the team to beat in Division Two after extending their lead at the summit to seven points in the wake of a 5-1 thrashing of Fairfield Villa.
Sam Manoochehri’s youthful side provided yet another glimpse of their champions pedigree against the mid-table Swans, as Cameron Ebbutt (2), Ryan Andrews, Miracle Okafor and Gerrard Sam all got the better of Sam Allen-Ralph between the Fairfield sticks. Jake Wicketts issued the response for Villa.
With Redditch Borough providing the opposition in Monday night’s (7.30pm) game, United then face a lengthy break before visiting Northfield Town on Saturday, March 7 (3pm).
WHILE THEIR rivals were busy going further clear at the top of the table, second-placed Knowle sealed their place in the semi-finals of the Les James Challenge Cup.
A 1-0 victory over Sutton United, courtesy of Louis Bridges’ stunner, pits the Robins against the winner of Barnt Green Spartak and Feckenham for a place in the final.
While Clive Seeley’s men await the winner of next month’s clash, a meeting with Bolehall Swifts at Hampton Road resumes their promotion push on Saturday (3pm).
HAMPTON were eliminated from the Fazeley Charity Cup after a 2-0 humbling by Shenstone Pathfinders at Field Lane.
The Staffordshire County Senior League outfit advanced to the semi-finals of the competition after Matty Morris’ double, meaning 11th-placed Hampton are now left to consolidate their league status for the remainder of the season.
That process was stepped up a notch after Wednesday’s derby duel away to Earlswood Town (7.45pm), which is followed by Saturday’s home game with fellow strugglers Barnt Green Spartak (3pm).
THE FIXTURE turmoil at Earlswood Town does not appear to be getting any easier for Tom Reynolds and co. after Saturday’s tie at Redditch Borough was called off.
It means the Earls, who consolidate 13th place, have still only played ten games this season – just four since October – with two thirds of their league campaign still to play in the final three months.
After the Hampton derby, a home game against FC Stratford awaits on Saturday (3pm), before Tuesday’s midweek test at Coventry Alvis (7.30pm).
A SIMILAR fate was suffered by Division Three sides FC Shush, Birmingham Tigers and AFC Solihull – who were all out of action at the weekend.
On Saturday (all 3pm), fifth-placed Shush travel to Enville Athletic, the Tigers, currently ninth, host Upton Town, while 15th-placed AFC are due to welcome Coventrians to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.