ONE OF the early FA Cup upsets was witnessed at Tythe Barn Lane on Saturday as Midland Premier League side Highgate United beat Southern League Premier Division outfit Leamington 3-1 to progress into the second round of qualifying.
The Brakes had previously lost just one league match so far this season but the home side matched their more illustrious opponents in every department and goals from Lei Brown, Scott Turner and Arron Brown put the underdogs in control.
A late goal by Jack Edwards proved to be little more than a consolation for the visitors as Highgate pulled off one of the big upsets of the competition so far.
A confident looking Leamington came out of the blocks in a positive fashion with Scott Turner rising well to clear Tony Breeden’s long free kick and Pulisciano did well to challenge Ben George in the area.
Turner threw his body on the line to block Connor Gudger’s powerful drive and Brenan Bunn had to be alert to keep out Obeng’s ten yard shot.
Highgate eventually found a foothold in the match and starting knocking the ball about in style. A deflected shot by Thomas Lacey flew just past Tony Breeden’s left-hand post before the breakthrough came on 28 minutes.
A quick burst down the right saw MCauley Manning cut inside and his run towards goal was halted by a clumsy challenge inside the box and Brown was able to calmly stroke home the resultant spot kick.
Gate continued to look the more menacing of the two sides with Brown scooping Jagroop’s pass over the bar then returning the favour for his fellow front runner to have his own drive deflected for a corner as the one goal advantage maintained going into the break.
Bunn saw action just minutes into the second half after standing his ground in a one-on-one situation with Rowe as the striker was only able to direct a header into the keeper’s body.
The home side doubled their lead seven minutes into the half when yet another foul on Manning led to another breakthrough.
Hawker this time surprised the defence with a low ball into the box and Manning side-footed over the face of goal for Turner to tap in from close range at the far post.
Leamington responded with Aaron Brown conceding a corner off his head then placing the resulting flag kick deep into touch.
With Gate competing for everything the visitors had tended to lose their way with Breeden keeping the score to two goals with a strong hand on Manning’s shot but a third goal eventually came.
Bunn stretched spectacularly to keep out Thompson-Brown’s shot which looked destined for the roof of the net before on the hour mark Hawker’s in-swinging corner was headed in by the rising Aaron Brown at the far post.
Bunn immediately spread his body to save from Luke Edwards, but despite a shell shocked Leamington upping the pressure, there was no way through a stubborn, well organised defence.
The visitors did score what proved to be a consolation goal came when Edwards soared at the far post to head home Thompson-Brown’s cross.
Late on Bunn made an outstanding save to prevent Thompson-Brown from further reducing the arrears while at the other end Manning had a golden opportunity to put the issue beyond doubt with a late lob over Breeden but his effort dropped the wrong side of the crossbar.