Stratford Town 4 Highgate United 2
TOWN bounced back to Baker Joiner Midland Alliance winning ways by completing the double over struggling Highgate at the DCS Stadium on Monday.
The home side took just two minutes to take the lead when visiting defender Oliver Casey deflected a free kick from Mark Faulds beyond helpless keeper Shaun Edwards.
The lead should have been doubled shortly after when Beckley sprang the visitors offside trap and rounded the advancing Edwards only to weakly shoot wide of the target.
Beckley then turned provider by releasing strike partner James Travis who should have done better than shoot straight at Edwards.
The pair combined again midway through the first half but Travis pulled his shot wide with just the visiting keeper to beat.
It continued to be one-way traffic with the impressive Chris Lait and Ricky Baker both thwarted by fine saves from the busy Edwards.
Highgate conjured up their first real effort of note on the half hour with Scott Jackson’s low shot being smartly saved by Richard Morris who followed up by keeping out a well struck effort from Elroy Bennett.
Normal service quickly resumed with Town pushing forward at every opportunity but they lacked the finishing touch with 20-yard efforts from both Beckley and Dan Kerrigan failing to hit the target.
Town eventually doubled their lead four minutes after the interval when Andy Gregory headed Faulds’ free kick back into the danger area where Travis pounced to fire home.
Beckley, Travis and Kerrigan all went close before Liam Reynolds released Lait who was frustrated by the advancing Edwards.
Town’s wayward finishing looked like it might come back to haunt them as Highgate reduced the arrears after 68 minutes through Toby Checketts who headed home Jackson’s corner.
But Town restored their two goal cushion virtually from the restart when Lait’s angled shot found the net via the inside of the post.
Town went close yet again when another well flighted free kick from Faulds reached Andy Gregory but the central defender’s header struck the foot of the post.
The points were eventually wrapped up ten minutes from time when Lait neatly combined with Beckley and finished in fine style.
Beckley spurned another golden opportunity before Highgate grabbed a last minute consolation through Dale Moon who was on hand to score from close range.
Town, who have slipped to 11th in the table, travel to Ellesmere Rangers this Saturday (3pm) before visiting Tipton Town on Wednesday (7.45pm).
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