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Bolehall Swifts 2 Highgate United FC 2: Birch's boys quick out of the Gate but Bolehall bounce back

Bolehall Swifts 2 Highgate United FC 2: Highgate twice wasted the lead against a Bolehall side looking for a seventh consecutive league win.

Highgate twice wasted the lead against a Bolehall side looking for a seventh consecutive league win.

The visitors had much the better of the first half but had to weather the storm after the break to earn a point which keeps them in third spot in the MFL Division One table.

In the absence of Ricardo Richards, manager Gary Birch named himself alongside Lei Brown up front, and with Karl King, Michael Batchelor, Nathan Edgington, Tom Lacey and Craig Hall all missing, starts were given to recent signing Dean Curtis at centre-half and midfielder Brett Fellows.

Gate got off to a strong start with Brown firing over from a 20-yard free-kick, then bringing a good save out of keeper Paul Hathaway with a firm header.

A Mooney flag kick led to the opening seventh-minute goal, Hathaway flapping and Birch lashing home from six yards.

Gate created numerous late first-half chances with attempts from Martin Crawford, Birch, Brown and Fellows.

The misses were to prove costly and instead of going in at halftime with a commanding lead, Birch’s men found themselves back on level terms when, with the last action of the half and totally against the run of play, Swifts’ Lee Smith broke clear of a square defence to clinically fire past McCarthy. An untidy second-half performance handed the initiative to the home team but after being put under early pressure with McCarthy having to deal with a couple of Yonwin attempts on goal, Gate went back in front through Brown’s converted 55th-minute penalty after the centre-forward had been brought down in the box.

Seven minutes later the lead was wiped out for a second time, Yonwin doing equally well from the spot after Boal had been fouled by Nathan Pulisciano. Yonwin, Boal and Chris Cowley continued to keep McCarthy busy while at the other end the nearest Gate came to a winner was Mooney’s overhead kick, saved by Hathaway, and Scott Turner’s late header, which was directed straight at the keeper.

On Saturday Highgate entertain Pelsall Villa (3pm).


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