LEI BROWN’S second half goal earned Highgate a deserved 1-1 draw at home to Shepshed Dynamo in the Midland Premier Division.
Ashley Pulisciano’s team enjoyed the better of exchanges on Saturday but were unable to punish the visitors when the opportunities arose.
Shepshed came into the game sitting third in the table and just as they did in the goalless encounter back in November, they proved to be a strong and physical side to break down.
Pulisciano opted to selected Nathan Pulisciano and Joe Cole in the starting line up following long term injuries, while a strong bench included Declan Attenborrow, Brendan Murphy, Curvin Ellis, Karl King and Nathan Corry.
The hosts made a positive start and following some neat build up play Brown was tripped but Aaron Brown’s subsequent free kick was tipped onto the cross bar by goalkeeper Jack Drury.
From Mooney’s corner Lei Brown had a volley blocked on the line and at the end of a quick break Shepshed’s Liam Read caused problems with a strong run and cross which was ultimately gathered by Bradley Catlow.
Gate were looking livelier than they had done in recent weeks and Tom Lacey delivered the perfect cross intended for Lei Brown at the far post only for centre half Joe Shaw to intercept at the expense of a corner, while Catlow was called into action at the other end with a brave smother at the feet of Michael Reeve.
It was Reeve who just a minute later was to put Shepshed ahead after finding himself on the end of a defence splitting pass to round Catlow and he rolled the ball into an unguarded net.
The goal had come against the run of play but both Aaron and Lei Brown failed with close range efforts while and immediately after the break Lei Brown had an early effort saved.
Mooney then touched on Lei Brown’s headed pass for Lacey’s cross to be swept narrowly wide by Mooney from six yards out.
In a rare Shepshed raid James Loney made an important tackle on Reeve in the box and Read sent a daisy cutter wide of Catlow’s goal.
Gate almost pulled level when a Mooney free kick was met by Aaron Brown’s head which looked destined for the top corner until Jake Betts rose to head behind.
The pressure finally told on 72 minutes when Loney fired in a cross from the right and Lei Brown got behind the defence to control the ball on his thigh and in one deft movement placed his shot well beyond Drury’s reach.
Lei Brown released Pulisciano for a cross which was volleyed behind by Mooney as Gate finished the match strongly.
Attenborrow had a drive blocked and Loney’s curling effort was saved but Gate could not find the winning goal their hard working performance perhaps deserved
On Saturday Highgate are at home to Nottingham based Dunkirk (3pm) and on Bank Holiday Monday Stourport Swifts are the visitors to Tythe Barn Lane (3pm).