GATE recorded back-to-back Easter wins to boost their hopes of North West Counties premier survival as this feisty derby produced three red cards.
Two days after winning away to bottom club Stone 3-0, Dave McCann’s men survived a second-half fightback by a Blackpool side who ended the game with nine men.
Both teams were playing their third game in five days and both squandered early opportunities.
Within five minutes mark Gate twice went close to drawing first blood. First Andy Harvie’s shot was deflected for a corner, then a minute later Jonathan Forbes hit a screamer which ricocheted wide.
Blackpool had their chances too in a fast, end to end game.
After 20 minutes Sam Farrow worked his magic down the left wing and sent an inch perfect cross which found the right foot of Max Rothwell, who hammered home from 10 yards.
Stuart Parker’s men started an onslaught on the visitors’ goal but chance after chance went begging as the Gate defence held firm.
The visitors came out fighting for the second half and doubled their lead inside two minutes, when Saydou Bamba made a neat run down the left and cut the ball inside for Bobby Lofthouse to score from 15 yards.
AFC began to boss the game and were unlucky not to grab a goal back when keeper Fletcher made an outstanding save, tipping the ball over the bar for one of AFC’s many corners.
After numerous attacks, AFC managed to grab a goal back when Ben Singleton poked home in a goalmouth scramble on 83 minutes, though Gate player-boss Dave McCann may inadvertently have got the final touch.
The match was soured by the late dismissals, including Blackpool’s Ben Singleton and Ciaran Donnelly.
Blackpool boss Stuart Parker was highly critical of Gate’s Jamie Nay, who he considered the instigator of the unpleasantness, but gracious towards a Gate side he felt deserved their victory.
Parker said: “After scoring the goal I thought we might go on and equalise but we never really performed until it was too late. We had tired legs and tired reactions.”
Gate remain precariously placed, just one point above the drop zone, having played two games more than second-bottom Ashton Athletic.
Blackpool: Scott, Whitehead, Taylor, Vaughan, Carroll, Dell, Balasz, Hull, Stammers, Donnelly, Singleton;subs; Ford, Carroll, Pickup.
Gate: Fletcher, Nay, Proctor, Baker, McCann, Forbes, Harvie, Farrow, Bamba, Rothwell, Lofthouse; subs: McLoughlin, McQuillan, Walker.