Bacup Borough 2 Squires Gate 4
GATE continued to pull clear of the North West Counties Premier Division’s lower reaches with this outstanding display at Bacup.
They took a 14th-minute lead when player manager Russ McKenna was quickest off the mark to reach Scott Harries’ long ball, draw the advancing goalkeeper and slot home.
But the home side managed to equalise four minutes later, when a shot from Kingsley Williams was deflected in off Gate’s Tom Bartlett.
Keeper Neil Beesley twice tipped shots over and, although Gate used the slope to launch their own attacks, particularly down the right, it remained 1-1 at half-time.
Gate piled on pressure after the break, despite playing uphill, and Joe Shelmerdine’s best performance of the season was rewarded with a goal to put his side back in front on 54 minutes. The Bacup keeper failed to hold Chris Bennett’s shot but looked to have no problem gathering the loose ball.
However, Shelmerdine chased what appeared a lost cause, won the race to the ball, and flicked it past the embarrassed keeper.
Scott Harries was beating defenders at will as Gate looked for a third, and when he won a free-kick on the edge of the box after 61 minutes, assistant manager Nigel Taylor fired a trademark rocket past the six-man wall and into the net.
Although Adrian Bellamy pulled one back for the home side with a penalty on 83minutes, it spurred the visitors on to stretch their advantage, which Bennett duly did six minutes later.
With both McKenna and his assistant on the pitch, trainer John Maguire ran operations from the sideline and he said: “This was a complete performance from a team with self-belief and every man on the top of his game.” Gate overtook their hosts in climbing two spots to 16th and look forward to Saturday’s home test against fourth-placed Glossop North End.
Gate: Beesley, McKendrick, Horn, Bartlett, Taylor, Benfield, McKenna, Fishwick, Shelmerdine, Bennett, Harries; not used: Thomas, Cragg, Farrow.