SEVEN-MAN Highgate United suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of promotion chasing Sporting Khalsa in a badly tempered contest.
The hosts received four red cards late on in a bizarre end to the game, which epitomised Gate’s performance on the day.
Duane Courtney and Darren Stapleton were the two absentees for Saturday’s fixture at The Coppice, but manager Ashley Pulisciano was able to call upon Sam Oji and top-scorer Lei Brown in the starting eleven.
A end-to-end first-half was edged by Highgate despite falling behind to Mickel Beckley’s 13th minute goal – and were left to feel unlucky to be trailing at the break.
Khalsa’s lead was doubled in the 55th minute through Dave Meese’s header, which signalled a switch of momentum in favour of the visitors.
Brown combined with substitute Stefan Moors to go close to pulling a goal back, when skimming the bar which his shot on the run.
A straight red for Brown followed moments later after confronting a Khalsa player in the 70th minute, which the visitors took full advantage of to go 3-0 up through Mensah Kinch’s finish.
The final ten minutes of the game were a bizarre affair, with Oji, Shay Palmer and Nathan Pulisciano all receiving two yellows in quick succession to reduced the hosts to seven-men.
To Khalsa’s credit, they were content with retaining possession and not looking to blow away the threadbare Gate with further goals before the full-time whistle sounded.
Four players missing from the squad for the upcoming visit to 18th-placed South Normanton Athletic on Saturday (3pm) will come as a big blow to Ashley Pulisciano’s already stretched side, ahead of an important quarter-final tie away to Wellington Amateurs of the West Midlands Regional League in the JW Hunt Cup (7:45pm) the following Wednesday.