HIGHGATE suffered a frustrating loss in the cup against league opponents Alvechurch.
Denied the services of strikers Elroy Bennett and Aaron Pinnock, Gate manager Mark Burge elected to play a 4-1-4-1 system with Matt Collins playing in front of the back four and Scott Turner alone up front.
Some neat Highgate play reduced the visitors to few opportunities in front of goal, but the home side could not find the finishes that their build-up play deserved.
Gate conceded cruelly when a controversial penalty was converted by Scott Dempster. Toby Checketts was adjudged to have fouled Josh McGuire in the box.
Despite a host of chances falling for Highgate at the break they went in one goal down.
The second half continued in much the same way. Checketts almost made amends for the penalty with a stooping header that flashed wide, Danny Kerigan’s low drive was blocked on the line and a chip from Ian Mitchell sailing inches over the cross bar.
After more chances were spurned by Gate the deserved equaliser finally came in the second half when Matt Collins hit an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the roof of the net against his former club.
With the goal coming with just a minute left on the clock, there was no time for Gate to snatch a winner and the game passed into extra time.
Highgate thought they had the winner when Liam Florey’s deflected shot seemed destined for the back of the net but Alvechurch’s keeper Tom Hemming somehow got his fingertips to it to push the ball wide.
Sensing tired legs among the home team Alvechurch pushed on and scored two in the dying minutes of the tie to deny Gate what should have been a comfortable win within 90 minutes.
On Saturday Highgate travel to Causeway United, kick-off at 3pm.