FOOTBALL: A LATE Lei Brown goal ensured Highgate earned a 2-2 draw at home to Sporting Khalsa as they moved above Stourport Swifts into 19th position in the Midland League Premier Division.
Highgate avoided a third consecutive league defeat thanks to Brown’s 85th minute goal and a point was no more than the home side deserved against one of the league’s in form teams.
Manager Ashley Pulisciano made just one change to the starting line up with left back Nathan Pulisciano making way for Tom Lacey, while the injured duo of Isaac Jagroop and Connor Mooney were still ruled out of contention.
Seeking to kick start their league season, the hosts got off to a perfect start when after three minutes Scott Rickards’ driven flag kick glanced off the head of visiting captain Tesfa Robinson for an unfortunate own goal.
Khalsa responded positively to the setback with a tenth minute equaliser though. There appeared to be no danger when Craig Bannister picked the ball up on the left but a quick shimmy and a burst of pace resulted in a pass allowing David Meese to score from the edge of the box with a shot which beat Brendon Bunn at his near post.
Gate’s play had become sloppy and the visitors were winning all of the second balls. By this stage Khalsa had the upper hand and despite Scott Tuner and James Loney excelling in the heart of the defence, the hosts conceded a second on the half-hour mark.
Some weak defending allowed Bannister the ball from 12 yards out and he had time and space to beat Bunn with ease.
Immediately after the break Scott Turner was relieved not to concede an own goal when stretching to keep out Bannister’s low near post cross but there was now far more urgency to Gate’s play.
Hawker played in Adaggio but he struck a first time volley into keeper Tom Turner’s body as the home side applied pressure on the visitors’ defence.
Hawker delivered an perfect free kick with no one available to take advantage, Scott Rickards curled a teasing free kick beyond the far upright and following some excellent build up play Lacey crossed and Rickards was close with a 15-yard header which was off target.
Having raised their game it came as no surprise when the leveller came with just five minutes remaining. Brown cut in from the left to strike a measured 20-yard shot beyond the reach of custodian Turner.
In the dying seconds the points tally was close to being trebled when Brown’s cross over the face of goal only just alluded the outstretched boot of Adaggio at the far post, but the final result though perhaps a fair reflection of the game overall.
On Saturday Highgate travel into Shropshire for their first ever meeting with league new boys Shawbury United (3pm).