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Studley 2 Highgate United 3

Highgate landed a Birmingham County Midweek Floodlit Cup quarter-final tie with Willenhall Town

Highgate landed a Birmingham County Midweek Floodlit Cup quarter-final tie with Willenhall Town following what should have been a far more comfortable victory over neighbours Studley.

Having to come from behind to overcome a determined home team, a brace from Connor Mooney and a strike from Lei Brown earned Gate what turned out to be a fully deserved win.

Highgate were the first to threaten when Ricardo Richards swept the ball out to Tom Lacey for a cross which fell nicely for Martin Crawford who was quickly outnumbered by defenders. Trevor Edwards then released Mooney for a curler that went inches beyond the far post.

Gate, though, were to enjoy a period of good fortune when Matt Bailey hit the woodwork on three occasions in a minute. The visitors failed to heed the warning and fell behind, with ex-Highgate player Toby Checketts crashing home an unstoppable 20th-minute header.

But with the game ebbing and flowing, the visitors went in at the break with their noses in front following two outstanding long-distance strikes from Mooney and Brown in the 35th and 39th minutes respectively.

Gate came out for the second half in a far more positive fashion and, with the sting having gone out of Studley’s game, Gate’s best passage of play so far was rewarded by Mooney extending the lead to two goals from inside the box following good interplay down the left between Brown and Richards.

Relaxed by the two-goal cushion, Gate’s play became sloppy.

Darius Darking nearly took advantage with a 20-yard drive, while at the other end Mooney was close to a hat-trick with a daisy-cutter despatched marginally wide and keeper Sean Edwards produced an excellent save to deny Brown his own brace.

Although McKenzie punished more slack defending with an 85th-minute goal, it was too little too late.

Gate ran down the clock in the final minutes to stop Studley taking the game into extra time.

 

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