REPORT: Highgate United 4-1 Gresley FC

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

Gresley endured a dismal afternoon at the Coppice, with Highgate United striking four times to down the Moatmen.

The last time Gresley were beaten 4-1, you could argue that they were extremely unlucky, in this case, however, the Moatmen could have no complaints with the scoreline.

Two goals from Arron Brown added to first-half strikes from Isaac Jangroop and Stuart Hendrie, with Louis Briscoe’s penalty conversion being the only consolation for the visitors.

It was actually a relatively quiet opening from both sides, with the Gate dominating possession but doing very little with it. The only moment of panic Gresley had to deal with in the opening half hour saw Ewan Mountjoy’s roll-out blocked, but he did well to recover.

When Gresley did get it forward, they were having some joy, it just wasn’t happening enough. The closest they came to opening the scoring was in the 26th minute when Michael Nelson sprinted down the left and squared the ball, only for Sam Oji to slide in and put in a timely interception.

Despite an early scare, Kidderminster loanee, Mountjoy enjoyed a promising debut, and showed his ability when he parried away Alex Price’s effort from the edge of the box.

The turning point of the game came when Nelson went down injured after a hefty collision on the by-line, but with the winger off the pitch, play continued – and this seemed to panic the away side.

After keeping the hosts at bay for the majority of the opening half, a goal in the 38th minute dealt the ten men of Gresley a sucker punch. A deep free kick found its target, and despite the header forward being tame, it evaded Exodus Geoghagon and fell to Hendrie, who made no mistake with his finish, sliding it past the advancing Mountjoy.

Things went from bad to worse for the away side as they conceded a second just three minutes later. With Nelson finally returning to the field of play, he could only watch on as his side gave away another goal.

Starting from a Gresley throw-in, Lansdowne threw straight to the feet of a Highgate player who quickly fed Alex Price. The influential midfielder, slid the ball through to Jagroop who confidently stroked home to double his side’s lead.

With Gresley shell-shocked after two quick fire goals, the Moatmen scrambled to make sure the deficit didn’t become larger, and were relieved when the half-time whistle blew.

In the second period, the away side came out more positively, obviously reeling over a dismal first 45. The introduction of Reiss Taylor-Randle in the 50th minute provided the Moatmen with much more attacking impetus.

Yet, it was actually Highgate who could’ve extended their lead when they caught Gresley on the counter-attack. A constant menace down the wing, Hendrie twisted and turned before forcing Mountjoy into action to push his shot away from goal.

However, Gresley had a golden chance to pull a goal back in the 59th minute from the penalty spot. Brilliant vision from Geoghagon saw the central defender pick Taylor-Randle out. The striker controlled brilliantly, but before he could get to the ball he was halted unfairly by keeper, Conlon. Briscoe stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick to give his side a lifeline.

The hope gained from the goal would fade pretty quickly however. Just minutes later Mountjoy made a fantastic save to keep out a thumping header from Jagroop. However, the relief would be short-lived, as Highgate scored their third when a shot from Hendrie was well blocked, but the ball fell kindly to Brown who thumped the ball into the bottom corner.

The front three of Brown, Jagroop and Hendrie were dragging the Gresley defence around, and the away side just could not cope, with Hendrie nearly scoring a fantastic solo effort, before eventually ballooning his shot over the crossbar.

Gresley did have chances to reduce the deficit, however. A mad moment from goalkeeper, Conlon saw Taylor-Randle tee up Nelson, only for the winger to shoot wide. Taylor-Randle once again proved to be the visitor’s best outlet when he sent a delicious delivery across goal, only to find no-one there to tap home.

Joe Haines then nearly scored a trademark long-ranger, but his shot from the edge of the box was well tipped away. Seconds later, the game would be out of reach from the Moatmen.

A corner was their undoing, with Oji nodding down a delivery to Arron Brown at the back post, who duly delivered the goods, calmly finishing for his second of the afternoon.

With four goals shipped, and Highgate’s confidence growing ever higher, Gresley were put out of their misery with the final whistle.

A truly dismal afternoon was brought to an end, and Dave McDermott will be looking for a decisive response when they travel to fellow-strugglers, Tividale next week.

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