FOOTBALL: FOR a fourth consecutive meeting Highgate United failed to gain a single point against bogey side Heanor Town after tasting a 3-1 home defeat in the Midland League Premier Division.
A weakened Highgate lost to a physically stronger Heanor side on Saturday and despite the hosts pulling one goal back in the second period, a sending off to Mcauley Manning enabled the visitors to make the most of their one-man advantage and steal all three points.
Having won their JW Hunt Cup encounter with AFC Wulfrunians in mid-week, Gate were looking to transfer that form into their league campaign but they knew they were in for a tough afternoon against a side sitting in a comfortable eighth place in the league table.
The hosts started well enough with Brown heading Cole’s long ball behind and after Nathan Walker had intercepted an attempted clearance, McCauley Manning shrugged off the attentions of full back Keenan Layton to fire into the side netting.
At the other end Brendan Bunn turned Jay Cooper’s shot round the post following a misplaced pass on the edge of the box.
Up until the half hour mark neither side had posed any threat but when Cooper was dragged down in the box, Nathan Benger scored from the spot at the second attempt after the unlucky Bunn had saved the number nine’s initial kick.
Five minutes later Keenan Layton doubled his side’s lead after taking full advantage of some slack defending to despatch a perfectly struck volley into the roof of the net.
Gate ended the half strongly with Dale Edwards seeing his deflected shot sail off target and Brown’s ambitious overhead kick went wide.
Marco Adaggio replaced Dale Edwards at the beginning of the second half and straight from the restart Brown appeared taken by surprise when Trevor Edwards’ cross landed at his feet just inside the box and he failed to trouble keeper Joe McCormack.
Ten minutes into the half came a Gate goal somewhat out of the blue. Brown picked up a quickly taken throw in and cut inside before curling a shot round McCormack and into the top corner of the net.
Gate came close to pulling level shortly before the hour mark when Walker’s free kick came back off McCormack’s gloves and fell to Adaggio but he hooked his shot over the bar.
Despite looking the better side, it became even more of an uphill struggle for the hosts when Manning was sent off in the 67th minutes for what was deemed a dangerous tackle on Dean Wilkinson.
McCormack was kept busy by a battling home side but sloppy defending allowed Benger to fire Heanor into a 3-1 lead with 18 minutes remaining.
Four minutes later and with Heanor on the ropes, Gate were awarded a penalty when Hawker was brought down on a run into the box. Hawker himself scored from the spot but with Brown having been adjudged to have encroached into the area, a free kick was awarded to Heanor.
Heanor had the ball in the net but from an offside position, while McCormack saved from Hawker with his legs and Hawker struck the rebound against the foot of the post as Gate were beaten in a contest which left a sour taste at the eventual manner of such defeat.