FOOTBALL: HAVING defeated Coventry Sphinx convincingly in the opening round of the FA Cup, Highgate United ended their season as it started with a 4-1 win against a struggling Sphinx side.
Gate’s win sees them move to seventh place in the Midland Football League table, a remarkable turnaround for a team which eight weeks ago was staring relegation in the face.
Red cards for Richard Bryan and Josh Hawker set Highgate an uphill task which they stuck too – rarely giving the visitors a look in.
Sphinx’s Liam Cairns found himself free to hit a shot into the bottom right hand corner of Brendon Bunn’s net to hand the Coventry side an eighth minute lead.
Enjoying all the early possession, Sphinx were soon pegged back when Brown scored a good goal in the 20th minute.
Several chances were then saved, deflected or sent just wide as Highgate pressed to take the initiative.
In the 41st minute, Hawker delivered a free kick towards Pendley who powered home a close range header to hand Gate the advantage.
Shortly into the second half Nathan Pulisciano nipped in with an early tackle to prevent Harkin having sight of goal while defender Eggleton’s sloppy clearance seized on by Brown to round keeper Dutton only for the centre half to recover well with a goal line clearance.
The first of the red cards was handed out in the 55th minute when Harkin was deemed to be the victim of a professional foul.
Resorting to a three man at the back, Gate took the game to a Sphinx side enjoying plenty of possession but posing little danger.
The hosts extending their lead in 68th minute when Turner glanced home a cross from Hawker.
Three points were all but confirmed for Highgate in the closing minutes when substitute Ben Thomas found Martin who struck his shot low beyond Dutton’s reach, the fourth and final goal of a worthy Highgate win.
Photos: Manjit Narotra.