FOOTBALL: HOPES of promotion at Highgate United took a hit on Saturday when midtable Long Eaton ended a four-game unbeaten run, writes John Townley.
Manager Ashley Pulisciano made five changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Rugby – George Robbins, Josh Hawker, Marco Addagio, Corey Currithers and James Wilcock all earning starts.
Highgate started brightly when Corey Currithers did well to keep the ball in play after beating Kameron Campbell on the right by-line, before cutting back for Marco Addagio.
His improvised effort – low to goalkeepers left hand post – meant Scot Low in the Long Eaton goal could tip wide for a Gate corner.
Low was again called into action several minutes later as Gate skipper Aaron Brown struck a free-kick 14 yards from goal. With Brown cutting across the ball, Low had to acrobatically palm away to safety.
Despite his heroics, Highgate’s persistent pressure on the Long Eaton back four finally paid off as Pulisciano’s men broke the deadlock in the 25th minute.
With his back to goal, Luke Barlone flicked the ball past Rommaine Graham to play a neat one-two with Josh Hawker towards the edge of Long Eaton’s box.
Receiving the ball back from Hawker, Barlone turned and struck beyond Low to power the Gate into a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time.
The visitors appeared inspired at the start of the second half though as efforts from Callum Smith and Shaun Rickford tested Bradley Catlow in the Highgate goal.
Despite Gate’s first half dominance, it would be Rickford who’d net for the away side to level the scores after 52 minutes.
Jake Duffy’s deflected effort fell at the feet of Smith, who clipped back into the box, where Rickford pounced, to condemn Gate to a tenth goal conceded in their last five.
With the game drawing to it’s conclusion, Long Eaton struck once more.
Fabien Smith – connecting with Andrew Todd’s delivery – headed the travellers into the lead and without response took all three points back to Nottingham.
Highgate will now look to get back to winning ways as they entertain Quorn on Saturday.
Picture: Manjit Narotra.