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Bromsgrove Sporting 0 Highgate United 1

Former Solihull Moors favourite Gary Birch's managerial baptism ended with a win over much-fancied Bromsgrove.

Former Solihull Moors favourite Gary Birch’s managerial baptism ended with a win over much-fancied Bromsgrove.

Martin Crawford scored the all-important goal after just two minutes.

But it took a gritty performance from the visitors to hold out for the three points against a side which pushed all the way but were to regret their profligacy in front of goal.

Gate got off to a dream start when Nathan Edgington played the ball wide to Lei Brown. His cross was delivered into the path of Crawford, who made no mistake by firing in from close range.

Gate were grateful to debut-making goalkeeper Chewitt for two good saves before Brett Fellows was narrowly off target with a shot on the turn.

Centre-half Tesfa Robinson then headed Joe Adams’ corner off the line with the visitors finishing the half strongly.

After the break Robinson was relieved to see a deflected attempted clearance drift wide and Robbie Ager squandered an opportunity to equalise for the hosts when he dragged his 64th-minute effort wide.

Sporting’s Tom Lacey, pushed into midfield with substitute Edwards slotting in at full-back, twice had efforts charged down and Chewitt made another good save to deny Ager.

Gate, though, created late chances of their own when Edgington could only direct his attempt straight at goalkeeper Bedford and Brown then burst through in typical fashion only for Bedford to save.

Highgate United 5 Atherstone Town 2

Highgate dominated this encounter, a Brown hat-trick being the highlight of a good team performance.

Birch started with the line-up that had begun in the win at Bromsgrove but after just eight minutes goalkeeper Paul Hewitt was forced off with a serious nose injury, full-back Nathan Pulisciano taking over in goal.

Gate found themselves behind after 36 minutes, Darren Eggleton giving Pulisciano no chance with a 30-yard free-kick.

Gate responded well and equalised three minutes into first half injury-time when Eggleton deflected a cross into his own net. And there was still time for Brown to give his side a half-time lead with a looping header.

Within three minutes of the restart the visitors were a man down, full-back Christian Mullings red carded for bringing down Fellows.

Joe Adams extended Gate’s lead in the 52nd minute and despite Lee Smith getting a second for Atherstone in the 62nd minute Brown strukc twice in the last quarter of an hour to complete an excellent night’s work.


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