Hanley Town 4 Squires Gate 2: Match report

Brrett Dawson
Brrett Dawson
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Daniel Cope’s hat-trick consigned a Gate side with no recognised goalkeeper to a Hallmark Security League defeat in Staffordshire.

Newly-promoted Hanley led from the ninth minute onwards, though goals by Gate strikers Brett Dawson and Ric Seear kept them in the contest as did an unforgettable penalty save by emergency keeper Ben Seear.

With no keepers available, defender Seear deputised between the posts but could not prevent Cope scrambling the opener from a free-kick.

The referee was never slow to blow the whistle, resulting in a stop-start match and plenty of free-kicks for both sides.

Stand-in keeper Seear boosted his confidence with a tip-over save but could not prevent Hanley doubling their lead on 26 minutes.

Seear couldn’t hold Cope’s shot and Sean Mountfold followed up to tap in.

Gate pulled one back four minutes later, when Mark Thornber played a lovely ball down the wing to Dawson, who burst into the box at pace and chipped the keeper in style.

The visitors couldn’t build any momentum, though, and it remained 2-1 at half-time.

Hanley restored their two-goal lead just two minutes after the restart, when a good move down the right resulting in a cross from which the unmarked Cope fired home his second.

The 62nd minute was one Seear will never forget. The home side were awarded a penalty for handball by Paul Alexander, but Seear dived to right way to pull off a superb save any regular keeper would have been proud of.

His brother Ric almost pulled a second goal back for Gate but headed just wide from Alexander’s cross.

Ryan Riley made an impact coming off the Gate bench with 10 minutes remaining and Hanley were then reduced to 10 men when a straight red was shown for kicking out.

Gate made their extra man count on 89 minutes, when substitute Mark Buchan cut inside and crossed to the back post for Ric Seear to power home his header.

However, Hanley had the final say as keeper Seear’s poor clearance kick went straight to a home player, who teed-up Cope for his hat-trick goal.

Victory lifts Hanley into the premier division’s top six, while Gate slip to 13th ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Barnoldswick (7.45pm).

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: B.Seear, Richards, Carroll, Alexander, Bamba, Hall, Thornber, Noblet, Tanser, R.Seear, Dawson; subs: Higham, Penswick, Buchan, Riley.