IT WAS a disappointing night for ten-man Highgate, who for 85 minutes battled hard but in vain against a Malvern side who made the most of their extra man.
Playing their first game for three weeks, it was a contest spoilt by a harsh sending off and a flurry of yellow cards.
Gate got off to the worst possible start when after just five minutes the unfortunate Richard Deeming found himself sent off for what seemed to be a strong but harmless challenge.
Perry Cox saved spectacularly to keep out Craig Carter’s long range effort, but with the home side applying all the early pressure, Gate found themselves behind to Troy Wood’s 29th minute goal.
The response was instant and within sixty seconds Liam Givans poked home the equaliser after Malvern’s defence had failed to clear Tom Reynold’s floated corner kick.
Finishing the half strongly - with keeper Lewis Skyers saving from Reynolds at the foot of his near post and Shawn Salmon having the ball in the back of the net but from an off side position - Gate looked to have come to terms with their disadvantage.
The opening period of the second half saw Skyers keep out efforts from Scott Turner and Shane Benjamin, as Gate continued to ask questions.
But against the run of play, a quick break led to the home side restoring their lead, Mike Rhodes racing clear to fire home off Cox’s body.
Tom Giddings went close to hitting another quick-fire equaliser, hitting Salmon’s cross the wrong side of the upright. It was a miss which was to prove costly when a tiring Gate conceded a decisive third goal to Paul Ireland’s unchallenged 69th minute far post header.