Ashton Athletic 2, Squires Gate 1
TWO goals in as many second-half minutes consigned Gate to their fifth defeat in six games in the NW Counties premier division.
Until the 69-minute mark, Gate looked destined to gain their first points of the season on the road courtesy of Louis Mayers’ first-half strike.
Alex McKendrick, impressive in an attacking midfield role at Brocstedes Park, took Scott Harries’ pass to go through on the keeper after 39 minutes.
His shot was parried but Mayers slammed in the rebound, despite defenders desperately scrambling back onto the goal-line.
This was a lacklustre game, in which both sides struggled to apply finishing touches to the chances they created.
The home side did hit the crossbar and forced keeper Neil Beesley into a one-handed save from a dangerous cross.
For the visitors, Dave McCann and Tom Benfield were creative, while defenders Tom Bartlett and Stuart Horn seemed to have the measure of the home attack.
The second half started in much the same vein, though Gate looked the more likely scorers as Harries appeared to beat defenders at will with the wind at his back.
But after Ashot skipper Brad Cooke broke through to give Beesley no chance with a 25-yard shot, the home side seized the momentum and soon sealed victory when top scorer Lee Barrett slotted home his eighth goal of the season.
That’s as many as Gate have managed between them, and they couldn’t force an equaliser despite manager Russ McKenna bringing himself on among several substitutions.
The defeat leaves Gate in the bottom three ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with St Helens Town.
Gate: Beesley, Richards, Horne, McCann, Bartlett, Benfield, Harries, McKendrick, Shelmerdine, L Mayers, Thomas; subs: Farrow, McKenna, Lewis, K Mayers, Taylor.