Squires Gate 1 Winsford United 1. HONOURS have ended even between these sides this season, after Gate avenged their 5-0 league defeat at Winsford with a 3-1 FA Vase victory and this third meeting finished all square.
Having looked like promotion contenders for much of the season, Winsford have slipped to mid-table, with Gate struggling to escape from its lower reaches. But the home side had a fine chance to go ahead after only three minutes.
Skipper Nigel Taylor’s through ball down the left was flicked on by Chris Bennett for Louis Mayers, who in turn released Joe Shelmerdine. However, the Gate striker got underneath his shot, which flew inches over with the goal at this mercy.
Bennett and Scott Harries continued to pose a threat with their pace and skill, Winsford keeper Andrew Jones rushing out of his area on several occasions to clear danger.
It remained goalless at half-time as Gate defended solidly, despite the absence of skipper Tom Benfield.
A similar pattern followed in the second half until Gate took the lead on 55 minutes.
Fishwick’s corner found an unmarked Bennett and he headed home to give Gate a reward for all their pressure.
But the lead lasted only three minutes as Andy Richards was adjudged to have blocked a long-range Winsford shot with his hand and was sent off.
Up stepped Matthew Ward to give Neil Beasley no chance from the penalty spot.
Despite being reduced to ten men, Gate continued to battle for the victory, with player manager Russ McKenn and Josh Miller added to the fray.
But Winsford defended well and left with a point, while the draw moved Gate above Stone and into 18th place.
Gate: Beesley, McKendrick, Horn, Bartlett, Taylor, Fishwick, Mayers.L Richards, Shelmerdine, Bennett, Harries, subs. Harvey, Millar, Tanser, McKenna.