GARY Hargreaves has been appointed manager of North West Counties League club Squires Gate in the wake of Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Alsager in the League Challenge Cup.
Player-boss Russ McKenna and his number two Nigel Taylor have made way for Hargreaves, who was Stuart Parker’s assistant at AFC Blackpool when they won the NWC first division title two seasons ago.
A former youth coach at Blackpool FC, Hargreaves has also led Garstang FC to the West Lancashire League title.
A Squires Gate club statement says that McKenna and Taylor have stepped down due to other commitments, and chairman Stuart Hopwood thanked both for their commited service and friendship.
Gate are langushing third-bottom of the premier division, having won just three of their 17 league games.
Alsager scored all their goals in the final 10 minutes on a bitterly cold day in North Staffordshire.
Gate played well in the first half as Seydou Bamba and Isaac Kusaloka both conjured up chances without testing keeper Tom Harrison, who was forced off just before half-time after taking a knock in a goalmouth scramble.
Gate looked the hungrier after the break but struggled to hit the target.
The deadlock was broken in the 80th minute, when Alsager’s James Marrow rounded keeper Beesley.
The keeper was caught flat-footed by a back-pass on 89 minutes and Alsager hotshot Sam Aspinwall side-footed home.
Just before the final whistle, more poor defending was punished as Town’s leading marksman Leigh Skellern scored his 12th of the season.
It was a miserable end to McKenna’s spell in charge and Hargreaves will greet the players at training tomorrow ahead of Satruday’s visit to Glossop North End.
Chairman Hopwood said: “This is an exciting challenge for Gary, who finds Gate at the wrong end of the table butI’m confident he’ll turn things round.”
Gate: Beesley, Nay, Harvie, Baker, Botham, Benfield, Mckenna, Richards, Massie, Bamba, Kusaloka. Subs: Taylor, Williams, Morretti