Squires Gate 0 Winsford 2
Gate showed considerable improvement against their second-placed visitors but still suffered a fourth successive defeat in the Vodkat premier division.
Oldham Borough 2
BLACKPOOL returned to the top of the Vodkat First Division but manager Stuart Parker rued late lapses in concentration which left his side hanging on.
“We tore them apart for 20 minutes but the other 70 was dross,” was Parker’s summing up as his side took advantage of Runcorn’s inactivity at a waterlogged Darwen to go three points clear.
Three goals in 14 minutes minutes at the start of the second half had put Parker’s side in total control, but Oldham defied their lowly position to fight back.
The visitors started brightly too, hitting the post early, though Blackpool failed to respond in a lethargic first-half display.
The closes they came to a breakthrough was when Ben Waddington got goalside of the defence and squared the ball for Cummins to force a sharp save.
However, the prolific Waddington and Cummins were unstoppable after the interval as AFC opened the scoring inside two minutes.
Cummins controlled a long ball superbly in the box before turning to fire his 20th of the season into the roof of the net.
Waddington showed his qualities four minutes later, curling a free-kick into the top corner from close to the byline after the Oldham keeper had handled outside his area. Anthony Stayte went close before AFC added their third on the hour, Waddington seizing on a through ball to lob the keeper from 30 yards and take his season’s tally to 19.
But the gloss was taken off for Parker when his side conceded twice in five minutes.
Michael Cheetham gave Oldham a glimmer of hope from the spot before Knowles capitalised on hesitation at the back to set up a nailbiting final 15 minutes.
Oldham never really threatened an equaliser as the game petered out, though Cummins did have a header well saved from a free-kick.
Parker reflected on his side’s failure to boost their goal difference, an area where Runcorn still have a commanding advantage of 16. But more importantly, Blackpool can increase their lead to six points at Holker tomorrow as Runcorn have no midweek game.
Blackpool: Speight, McEvoy, Carroll, Ford, Walker, Muscroft, Baird, Ashall, Stayte, Waddington, Cummins; subs: Palmer, Dell, McGough.