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Squires Gate 0 Runcorn Linnets 1

Neil Beesley at full stretch, as he goes down to save late penalty kick from Linnets, Martin Crowder, and helped Gate keep the score down

Neil Beesley at full stretch, as he goes down to save late penalty kick from Linnets, Martin Crowder, and helped Gate keep the score down

New Runcorn Linnets manager Joey Dunn was delighted to see his side move into the top half of the North West Counties premier with this narrow victory at Squires Gate.

It could have been a different tale had Gate capitalised on their early pressure.

Alan Coar went one-on-one with the Linnets keeper after 20 minutes but the Gate striker fired wide.

Then a free-kick from 30 yards by Mark Thornber beat the five-man wall and looked destined for the bottom corner only for keepr Ritchie Motram to pull off an outstanding diving save.

And Gate were made to pay for not taking their chances on 27 minutes, when they mounted a clinical counter-attack from a Gate free-kick.

Gate had several chances to clear the danger in the box, but the ball eventually fell to the feet of Sean Breen and placed his shot just inside the post.

The Linnets should have doubled their lead before half-time but Neil Beesley pulled off a save with his feet to send the ball over the bar.

Gate worked hard in the second half but never looked like breaking through a resolute Linnets defence.

The only chance of note in the second half for either side came in the dying moments, when Gate’s Lee Baker conceded a penalty.

However, Beesley pulled off a great save diving to his right to deny the visitors a second.

Gate manager Garry Hargreaves said: “I thought we looked compact and competed well in the first half. If we take our chances it could have gone our way but it was them who got the lift.

“I think a few weeks ago we might have seen our heads drop and lose by three or four but the transition is slowly taking place.

“The defence is working well and it’s about putting that into the whole team”.

Gate have no fixture next weekend and their next home game is the mouthwatering derby against AFC Blackpool on Boxing Day.

Dan Braid

Gate: Beesley, Nay, Botham, Baker, McEvoy, Benfield, Perry-Acton, Fishwick, Coar, Thornber, Harvie; subs: Cragg, Miller, Walker

 

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