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Brown breaks wooden hearts

Highgate Utd 2 - 1 Walsall Wood

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2013 12:16pm
Dickens Heath, Solihull
By Highgate United
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A late goal from striker Lei Brown gave Lee Adams men all 3 points against a spirited Walsall Wood side at the Coppice this afternoon.

Highgate rode their luck in grinding out a win over a lively looking Walsall Wood side still looking for its first win of the season as it adjusts to life at a higher level following promotion from the Midland Football Combination at the end of last season, Lei Brown’s brace, his eighth and ninth goals of the season, ensuring Gate finished the day in second place behind Tividale on goal difference. 
Manager Lee Adams changed his line up with Danny Hicks replacing centre half Craig Hall who was rested on the bench, with Tom Lacey operating down the right hand side in place of the suspended Nathan Edgington
Good news for the Highgate boss was the return from long term injury of last season’s captainTom Reynolds who made a substitute’s appearance mid way through the second half, but Adams will have been disappointed at his team’s error strewn display which lacked any rhythm and fluency as they endured many an anxious moment against visitors who went home convinced they deserved at least a share of the spoils. 
But it’s goals that count and despite their numerous chances Wood only managed to strike the once with a late second half equaliser, Brown again giving a lesson in finishing with a goal in each half to lead both his club’s and the MFA goal scoring charts.
Wood came to the Coppice having romped away as MFC champions back in May and having reached the quarter finals of the FA Vase, Gate knowing that they were facing a tough task even though the visitors had managed just one point from their four league outings so far but having grown in confidence after a comfortable FA Cup win over Continental Star just seven days previously. 
And so it was that Wood attacked from the kick off, Trevor Edwards ushering Jonathan Ashfall into touch as the lively left wing back broke clear, with Dean Curtis then forced to show off his defensive qualities by tracking back to again halt Ashfall in his stride, the midfielder and centre half Lee Stretton then wildly off target with long range efforts which were nowhere near to troubling Shaun Edwards in goal. Stretton was then back to bravely head Joe Adams’ free kick away from Curtis but although Gate were making little headway against a well marshalled Wood defence they went on to enjoy a good period leading up to the opening goal on fourteen minutes. 
Lacey intercepted Jack Stone’s attempted clearance only to find Adams in the clear but marginally offside, full back Edwards then despatching a pass into the box which rolled underKarl King’s feet and harmlessly into keeper Dale Faultless’ hands. Brown’s first goal came in trade mark fashion, latching on to a ball played into the box taking time to turn a defender before firing in under the body of Faultless. The keeper rose to catch Daryl Jones’ flighted thirty yard free kick and with Gate playing with more assurance pressure was at last applied in the final third, Brown’s flick over a square back four just too long for Shane Benjamin to reach, another Jones’ free kick to the far post side footed narrowly high by Hicks. Lacey was back to tackle Samsom Alalade twelve yards out, Curtis then doing well to play his way out of trouble having been dispossessed by Ahmet Bilgimer, Hicks looking assured in averting danger with a headed clearance off Andre Gonzales’ corner kick. 
Adams first time volley out of defence led to Benjamin unlucky not to release Brown on goal, Stone mopping up with a crucial block. Starved of any good balls Benjamin and Brown were working hard for little reward and when at the other end Hicks tackled Bilgimer inside the twelve yard area appeals for a penalty were rightly ignored. Forced into mistakes Gate were fortunate that Alalade’s shot flew inches beyond the far post, Harry Harris then hitting a twenty five yard daisy cutter into Edwards’ body. Despite finishing the half strongly, with King failing to pull the trigger five yards out and Jones’ screamer headed behind by Gonzales on guard his near post, Gate went in at half time having had to work hard to hang on to the narrowest of leads.

HT Highgate United 1 v 0 Walsall Wood
The visitors continued to look the more threatening after the break, Anthony Juxon’s mis-hit shot blocked by Brown before being scrambled clear, Adam Daly then reacting quickly to deny Bilgimer at the expense of a corner headed over by Stretton. Edwards was out of his area to head a long ball away from Bilgimer and with Gate constantly on the back foot during the early stages Daly rose to head Gonzales’ dangerous cross to safety. Juxon should have done better with a free header directed downwards but high of Edwards’ cross bar, whilst at the other end Benjamin turned on Daly’s through ball beating two defenders before driving his shot into Faultless’s hands, King’s header off Lacey’s flag kick then drifting over the face of goal. 
King’s backheeled pass set up Adams for a shot hit well wide but it was Wood forcing the game going forward, substitute Lewis Taylor-Boyce curling a fifteen yarder too close for comfort a series of corners then testing a nervous looking defence with Edwards palming Gonzales’ dead ball kick behind and Hall up to head clear the resulting in-swinger. Benjamin was close to doubling the lead making the most of Stone’s misjudgement to side foot his effort marginally wide off the keeper’s body. 
There was some inevitability about Wood’s 82nd minute equaliser, Edwards stretching to get a hand on Alalade’s far post cross, the ball dropping nicely for Harris to gleefully crash home the loose ball at close range. Stung by conceding and with a five game winning run at risk, Gate at last responded in positive fashion, Adams unsettling a defender in his attempts to clear the ball finding its way across the box where five minutes from the end Brown struck with the winner drilled low into the bottom of the net. Wood had a couple of late half chances with Alalade finding the side netting and Juxon off target from distance, Gate surviving late loud appeals for hand ball seen only by a disappointed and by now desperate visiting side.
Highgate United S.Edwards; T.Edwards (c); Daly; Curtis (Hall 60); Hicks; Adams; King; Jones (Reynolds 50); Benjamin (Lynch 90); Lacey; Brown Substitutes not used: Adeleye; Rolfe
Walsall Wood Faultless; Ashfall; Jones; Stone; Stretton; Juxon; Alalade; Hancox; Bilgimer; Harris; Gonzales Substitutes: Taylor-Boyce; Carrithers; Cooper; Hankins; Hayles

 

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