HELLENIC LEAGUE PREMIER: Controversial penalty gives Highworth the points
A CONTROVERSIAL penalty saw Highworth gain a 1-0 victory over Hellenic Premier leaders Reading at the Elms on Saturday.
Worthians captain TJ Bohane tucked home just before the hour mark following a tangle between himself and visiting centre-back Michael Buck.
Highworth assistant Kev Moloney, standing in for holidaying boss John Fisher, said: "It's two players coming together, I didn't see it, but the referee obviously did and gave a penalty.
“We've had a couple of those decisions given against us in the last two or three games. Realistically, they look 50-50, could go either way so when the referee gives it, you gladly accept.”
The hosts started well and were almost ahead on nine minutes. Neat one-touch passing on the right flank resulted in Aaron Maximen breaking free, but Nathan Silver was quickly off his line to save.
Highworth keeper Kieran Shail wasn't tested until 10 minutes before the break, but he needed to be at his best to parry Toby Nowell's low strike from inside the box.
Then, after Highworth failed to clear a James Knight cross, Nowell wriggled free in the box and fired against the inside of the upright. Nowell was quickest to react and unselfishly centred the ball, but an easy tap-in was thwarted by debutant Sam Wadieh's perfectly-timed block.
Reading's resurgence continued after the break and within a minute of the restart, great work by Lamin Sankah and Sam Green set Graham Lewis clear, but he shot off target.
Despite being on the back foot for most of the second half, Highworth took the lead from Bohane's spot kick, which he struck confidently to Silver’s left for his ninth goal of the season.
Substitute Josh Warren nearly laid on an equaliser for the Berkshire visitors when he delivered an in-swinging corner to the back post, but the unmarked Ross Herridge nodded wide from six yards.
Following this scare, the Highworth defence held firm, resulting in Reading tasting defeat away from home for the first time this season.
“They're a good side, and we showed them a lot of respect and they did the same to us,” continued Moloney.
“I thought Sam (Wadieh) had an excellent game. We knew he was a good player because he's played against us before and he had a great debut.
“We had two midfield players in the back four (Matty Horsell and Russell Byrne), so to keep a clean sheet and to win against a very good side, I'm over the moon.”
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