Highgate United 3 Pershore Town 1 & Cadbury Athletic 1 Highgate United 1
It proved to be a profitable bank holiday weekend as Highgate gained four points from their two games.
They came from behind to defeat a spirited Pershore side on Saturday which despite being second best throughout ensured that Gate had to be on top of their game in order to secure a deserved three points.
Manager Gary Birch was again left with a depleted squad giving starts to new signings Joshua Hawker, on loan from Solihull Moors, and former Bedworth United player Alondo Lewis, whilst Melvin Gourley began on the bench following his transfer from Romulus.
Highgate started brightly with Connor Mooney not far off target from a second-minute free-kick, and Lei Brown twice going close with headers off crosses swept in by Tom Lacey.
It was somewhat against the run of play that the visitors took an 18th-minute lead, a moment of defensive frailty giving Sean Brain the chance to break clear and force the ball in off the legs of home centre half Scott Turner.
Despite Gate being well on top, and with Lei Brown twice having goals ruled out for preceding fouls, chances were to go begging.
Turner was off target from close range, Karl King and Brett Fellows had attempts blocked and Hawker was close with a drive deflected inches beyond the far post.
Whatever boss Birch said to his players at half time clearly worked and within five minutes of the restart his side had forged their way ahead.
Fellows sent the 49th-minute equaliser crashing in off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards after Mooney’s shot had rebounded and fallen nicely off Brown’s body.
Sixty seconds later and Brown put fear into the visitors’ defence – a poor clearance finding Mooney 18 yards out and an impeccable finish easily beating goalkeeper Paul Maynard.
From now on it was one-way traffic towards Maynard’s goal – Pershore forced to soak up considerable pressure from what should have been a rampant Highgate side.
Brown, Hawker, Fuller and Mooney were all on the end of squandered chances before Brown sealed what turned out to be a convincing win with a last-minute strike, racing on to Fellow’s pass bursting into the box and beating Maynard with an angled finished hit low into the far bottom corner of the keeper’s net.
On Monday, played in atrocious weather conditions, Gate visited Cadbury. Both teams contributed to an entertaining contest which was effectively settled early on with the two goals coming in the opening five minutes.
Gate though enjoyed but squandered the better of the chances with home keeper Kenneth Sanders denying scorer Brown on three second-half occasions, full-length finger-tip saves keeping out close-range attempts from last season’s golden boot winner. Brown had opened the scoring after three minutes Martin Crawford’s thrown in from the right finding Brown on the left of the box for a drive fired in low beyond Sander’s reach.
A misjudgement led to the equaliser, Ryan Gitting’s floated right wing cross looking destined to sail behind only to deceive Paul Hewitt as it drifted over the visiting keeper’s head into the roof of the net.
Apart from a Tony Clarke header which went behind off the top of the crossbar the home team posed little further threat, but despite being on top for long periods Gate were to be left frustrated by the outstanding Cadbury goalkeeper.