FOOTBALL: TEENAGER Romario Martin produced one of the highlights of the season for Highgate as he scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over relegation-threatened Shawbury United in the Midland League Premier Division.
The 17-year-old produced a man-of-the-match performance to earn Highgate an important three points which almost certainly ensures their place in the Premier Division for next season.
Although the game was nowhere near as exciting as the six goals might otherwise suggest, a youthful Gate side worked hard as a team throughout and fully deserved what turned out to be a relatively comfortable victory.
Gate were nearest to breaking the deadlock when Rolfe’s free kick was played on by Hylton for Scott Turner whose header was superbly saved by keeper Ian Havard at close range save.
On 22 minutes Gate should have found themselves behind as striker Josh Thomas failing to convert Keanu Cooper’s inviting cross with a two yard shot swept weakly into Brendon Bunn’s hands.
A period of neat build up play to lead to the 44th minute opening goal with Rolfe’s corner floating to the far post and returned back across goal by Turner for Orrin Pendley to convert.
Gate were immediately close to doubling their advantage when pressure from Lacey forced a defender into a hasty back pass struck against the foot of Havard’s right-hand post.
Shawbury came out for the second half in a far more positive frame of mind and within a couple of minutes of the re-start Bunn got fingertips to a Jason Wellings’ drive smacked against the woodwork.
The equaliser came somewhat against the run of play in 62nd minute when Charles Knowles was given too much time and space on the edge of the box for a scuffed shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Bunn’s net.
Within three minutes of conceding the lead was restored, Pendley winning the ball in the middle of the park to deliver the perfect pass for Martin to cut in and beat Havard with a shot off the outside of the left boot.
Martin completed his brace in 82nd minute after finishing off a move between Brown and Woolley to crash a well struck volley past Havard from the left-hand side of the box which all but put an end to things but Shawbury were to have other ideas.
Two minutes later slack marking presented substitute Stuart Ellis with a gift of a goal and there was still time however for Martin to complete a thoroughly merited hat trick who left Havard helpless and only able to watch the gentlest of lobs drop nicely into the roof of the net.
On Saturday Highgate are in action against Brocton away from home on Saturday.