Gate start season with FA Cup victory

Ric Seear goes close for Gate Picture: Albert Cooper
Ric Seear goes close for Gate Picture: Albert Cooper
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Squires Gate cleared their first FA Cup obstacle with a 1-0 win away to Maltby Main in the extra preliminary round courtesy of Joe Noblet’s second-half penalty.

Gate lined up in Rotherham with four new signings, three of them from AFC Blackpool – Ben and Ric Seear, and Paul Carroll – and Brett Dawson from Thornton Cleveleys.

Noblet had scored a hat-trick when the teams last met in the FA Vase three seasons ago. Keeper Ben Fletcher was the only other survivor in the Gate team from that 3-0 win.

The high-tempo early stages were even and Gate’s best chance of the first half fell to Ryan Riley. The striker got behind the defence only to send his deft chip wide.

Fellow striker Ric Seear had a chance on 21 minutes. He leapt highest at the back post from a Noblet corner but his header was cleared.

Gate again showed attacking intent on 35 minutes, when Dawson played a super 30-yard pass from his own half to find Riley but the striker was hounded out.

Arguably the turning point came eight minutes before half-time, when a Maltby Main centre-back was shown a straight red card for a headbutt on Ric Seear.

The Yorkshiremen did well to regroup over half-time and looked defensively solid in the second half.

The impressive Dawson went on a driving run from inside his own half, beating several opponents, but the ball was shepherded out by the home defence.

The breakthrough came after 65 minutes, when Noblet found in space in the box and was fouled as he looked set to shoot. Noblet stepped up to convert the penalty

Gate controlled the rest of the game, Noblet and Dawson aving late chances to double the lead. Resilient defending by player boss Danny Penswick and Carroll ensured Fletcher was barely tested.

Gate’s opponents in the next preliminary round will by West Didsbury or AFC Liverpool, who replay on Wednesday. Tomorrow’s scheduled opponents Barnoldswick are also involved in a replay, meaning Gate must wait until Saturday to start their league season at home to 1874 Northwich.

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: Fletcher, Richards, Carroll, Penswick, Seear, Hall, McKendrick, Noblet, Riley, Seear, Dawson; subs: Higham, Thornber, Buchan, Gibson.