Lichfield City progress to the FA Vase Fourth Round after a 3-1 win against Highgate United.
Ivor Green and his men have taken a huge step closer to a Wembley final, as they beat Highgate United 3-1 to progress to the fourth round of the FA Vase.
Dan Lomas capitalised from the penalty spot while Dan Smith added two more to his eye-watering goal tally, to defeat the visitors 3-1.
Lichfield’s win stands as a statement of intent, after they secured a commanding win against their promotion rivals.
City made four changes to the starting 11, after Wednesday’s 5-1 Walsall Senior Cup Win against Wolverhampton Sporting: Haines, Kirton, Smith and captain Dan Lomas all returned to the fold.
Smith put the Highgate centre back pairing under pressure from the get-go, before Charlie Shaw skied his shot well over the bar at the other end of the pitch for the visitors.
Ryan Harkin’s effort for the visitors struck the back of the net but was ruled offside by the linesman.
Highgate later spurned a well-positioned free kick just inside the Lichfield half and gifted the home side an opportunity break on the counter, but Edwards’ effort was gathered comfortably by the Highgate keeper.
Lichfield were able to see off Highgate’s early efforts, as Burnside’s vital interception prevented a dangerous one-on-one, and the home side were soon able to turn the game in their favour.
Lichfield were awarded a penalty after number five was carded for a sinical offence on Edwards inside the box.
Lomas stepped up to the spot and nailed his shot into the bottom left corner of the goal, sending the keeper the wrong way and Lichfield into the lead.
Highgate looked to strike back immediately after play resumed, but Jamie Beeson denied their low effort on goal with an outstretched leg.
The ensemble of drummers found their rhythm as Smith scored Lichfield’s second. He brushed the Highgate defender aside, robbed the ball from his feet, and slotted the ball past Reece Francis in goal.
Against the run of play, Highgate controversially pulled a goal back, as the linesman deemed Ryan Harkin’s header to have crossed the line, despite Haines attempted clearance.
Things began to get heated as Harkin later received a yellow card for slamming Beeson into the fence, before squaring up to the Lichfield keeper.
Highgate looked to try and draw level before the half-time whistle, but Lichfield’s back line stood tall.
Lichfield kicked off the second half and were soon put under pressure by Highgate, but Dan “Wonder” Smith reignited Lichfield’s performance.
A skewed clearance from the Highgate defender looped backwards into the box, which Smith ran on to and smashed past Francis on the volley, to put Lichfield two goals ahead.
Kyle Patterson then came on to offer further strength in midfield, as Lichfield began to take control.
The remainder of the game was a procession of half-chances, and neither side looked likely to score again.
Burnside, Smith and Edwards took turns breaking down the right flank, before Highgate began mounting attacks of their own as full time drew nearer.
The away side made two substitutions with the intention of forcing their way back into the game but failed to surpass Haines and Jamie Elkes at the back.
Beeson smothered several Highgate efforts from range before Patterson gave away a clever foul on the halfway line, and the following free kick was hit to long for the Highgate forwards to reach.
A late challenge by the corner flag caused a fierce clash between both sets of players, that resulted in three yellow cards and some serious earache for the referee.
The full-time whistle soon followed to confirm Lichfield’s place in the fourth round of the FA Vase.