FOOTBALL: HIGHGATE United did their Midland Premier League relegation worries the world of good after drawing 2-2 with fellow strugglers AFC Wulfrunians on Saturday.
In what was a gripping bottom-of-the-table encounter, Highgate came away with what could turn out to be a valuable point come the end of the season thanks to Scott Turner’s important equaliser ten minutes from time.
Gate came into the game with high expectations following the recent win at Lye Town, but manager Ashley Pulisciano made two changes with Brendon Bunn returning in goal, while Leamington loanee Richard Bryan replaced the unavailable James Loney at the heart of defence.
A poor start saw the home side on top early on with Nick Turton coming close with a shot deflected shot and Demetri Brown and Nathan Rose Laing were not far off target with further attempts at goal.
Gate had yet to test keeper Liam Stanton but in 27th minute they got their noses in front somewhat against the run of play. Lei Brown won a corner from which new boy Bryan flicked on and Orrin Pendley guided the ball home past Liam Stanton’s reach.
A minute later Pendley was close to a quick brace but this time the woodwork came to the keeper’s rescue.
Two goals in the space of as many minutes just before the break turned the game on its head and Pendley turned from hero to villain.
An over anxious challenge on the over-lapping Joel Caines led to a penalty fired in by Jake Webb in the 43rd minutes and sixty seconds later Webb was to score from the spot for a second time following Pendley’s tug on Demetri Brown.
Gate’s play improved considerably after the break and playing with far more purpose they were to level things up in 68th minute.
Josh Hawker’s free kick caused panic in the Wulf’s box and Turner lashed home the loose ball to make it 2-2.
Jarrell Hylton came on to provide Lei Brown with a chance that curled marginally wide and Hawker skimmed the top of the cross bar from a 20-yard free kick as the visitors pushed for a winner.
Substitute Woodley brought the best out of Stanton with a free kick driven low to the bottom of the keeper’s right-hand post but there were to be no further changes to the scoreline.
With four of the bottom six also involved in draws Gate remain just above the relegation spots one place above last Saturday’s hosts on goal difference but with games in hand on their fellow strugglers
The result leaves Highgate one point above the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s clash away at Stourport Swifts.