Bootle 0 Squires Gate 2: Match report

Gate celebrate Ben Seear's opener
Gate celebrate Ben Seear's opener
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Gate’s first win for a month was arguably their most impressive of the season at the home of the Hallmark Security League title-chasers.

Gate went into the game down to the bare bones because of injuries, unavailability and the transfers of top scorer Ric Seear and Ryan Riley to Colne and Bamber Bridge respectively.

Midfielder Mike Hall started in goal for Gate and had to be alert after two minutes to tip over a corner as Bootle, who went into the game second in the premier division, started brightly.

Striker Brett Dawson started in a demanding lone striker role for Gate and should have opened the scoring after six minutes, when his one-on-one effort was saved by keeper Ryan Jones’ legs.

Three minutes later Dawson would make up for his miss. He beat a defender before crossing to the back post for Ben Seear, playing in an unfamiliar centre midfield role, to fire past Jones.

Gate had further chances as Dawson’s thunderous strike from distance was tipped over and Danny Penswick fired wide from long-range.

Bootle started to mount pressure of their own and forced a series of corners, Hall pulling off a fine save to tip a shot over the bar.

Gate could have made it 2-0 on 34 minutes, when Joe Noblet did well to beat his man and square the ball to the back post but Andy Richards’ scuffed shot was cleared off the line.

The visitors continued to defend well in the second half and doubled their lead on 65 minutes, when a corner fell to Seydou Bamba in the middle of the goalmouth and the defender fired home.

Gate would have to defend heroically as Bootle went more direct, though the visitors had chances to add a third in the final 10 minutes.

First Dawson was harshly flagged offside when clean through on goal, then Jake Higham beat the offside trap to play in Dawson, whose shot was well saved by Jones.

Gate, who completed the double over Bootle and became the first team to beat them at home this season, remain 15th and will end 2016 at home to Ashton Athletic on Boxing Day.

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: Hall, Carroll, Bamba, Alexander, Rossall, Richards, Penswick, B.Seear, Higham, Noblet, Dawson.