Midland Floodlit Youth League Eastern Division
Philips 66 Community Stadium
Wednesday 15th March 2017
Young Brakes were unable to apply the final touch in front of goal in a scrappy encounter with a resilient Highgate United side at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
It was a clear but fresh evening at the Phillips 66 with the pitch having been well prepared for the long awaited Eastern Division clash, looking firm and dry despite the recent heavy rain. The game got off to a lively start with Highgate in red firing in a firm shot in the first minute with keeper Hopkinson, who passed a late fitness test, getting everything behind the goal bound shot at the North Bank end.
Newly signed Hamed-al-Amin was showing some neat first time touches up front for Brakes but chances were few in the opening exchanges. Logan Madden went close with an effort from 25 yards after the Referee had played a good advantage for Highgate. Then at the other end Will Evans evaded 2 strong tackles from behind to find himself clear on the edge of the box, but the referee had blown up for the first challenge.
Highgate were playing a high line to good effect and were pressing Brakes back into their own half. Dylan Corrigan fired in a free kick which the Brakes keeper covered safely on his line. Brakes finally broke out with a counter movement which opened up the Reds defence for Fitzmaurice to go close with a first time volley from just outside the box.
Minutes later Jack Winiarski was upended after a good turn and the Referee had words with the centre back Burden. Brakes skipper Jeeves sent a scorching effort skimming over the bar from 20 yards moments later.
Brakes were beginning to put some passes together and full back Nathan Howell went very close with a lob that skimmed the bar with the keeper beaten. A scrappy first half came to an end with neither side exerting any authority on the game and neither keeper being truly tested.
Half Time: 0-0.
Brakes were forced to sub keeper Hopkinson at halftime and Marcus Miles took over the gloves.Brakes showed their intent with a good move up the right straight from the kick off, Amin latching onto a ball into the box and firing in a belter which drew a fine save from Roberts in the Gate goal. George Robbins produced a fantastic run, picking up the ball from his own area and beating 2 defenders to play a delightful chip over the defence for Amin to fire a blistering shot straight at the keeper, who did well to hold. Winiarski broke through on the left moments later, out stripping the defence to fire one into the near post and drawing yet another fine save from the keeper.
Highgate then countered with efforts from Webb and Madden going close with shots from outside the box. Gates number 9 Owen Perry - Holmes was starting to split the Brakes defence with some timely runs and on 76 minutes he latched onto a long ball down the middle and finished with an unstoppable Shearer-esque finish into the top corner from 23 yards.
Brakes immediately retaliated with a string of efforts from Fitzmaurice, Robbins and Jeeves and Winarski went painfully close with a header at the near post from a Robbins free kick, but with 3 minutes left Brakes were rewarded for their efforts when George Robbins ghosted in unmarked from a corner to head a deserved equaliser.
There was still time in the 90th minute for another wonder lob from Peepal which almost caught the keeper by surprise.
Full Time: 1-1