Squires Gate 2 Runcorn Linnets 3

Jamie Gibson scores for Gate  Picture: ALBERT COOPER
Jamie Gibson scores for Gate Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Gate matched the North West Counties League leaders in their final home game of the season but remain in relegation danger with two matches remaining.

Gate matched the North West Counties League leaders in their final home game of the season but remain in relegation danger with two matches remaining.

All the goals came in the second half, including four in as many minutes just past the hour, but Gate couldn’t force an equaliser in the final quarter despite having plenty of possession.

Gate showed great urgency in the early stages, setting the tone for the match.

They should have taken the lead in the second minute, when a free-kick was knocked down by Nathan Trout into the path of Ryan Riley, who jinked past his man but his shot was easily saved.

Gate player-manager Danny Penswick was introduced early following an injury to Mike Hall, though the Linnets were next to go close when Kyle Hamid volleyed straight into Ben Fletcher’s arms.

And they almost punished Gate for over-playing in defence but the Linnets’ shot was sliced over the bar.

Winger Jamie Gibson had Gate’s best chance before the break but shot tamely into keeper Dean Porter’s arms, with Riley waiting for the pull-back at the back post.

The visitors opened the scoring five minutes into the second half, when defender Michael White found himself free at the back post to fire into the roof of the net after a goal-line clearance by Gate.

The goalmouth action erupted on the hour after Kurt Sherlock fired over for the visitors in a promising position.

They doubled their lead on 62 minutes, when Hamid found space at the back post to poke past Fletcher.

Gate equalised two minutes later, when keeper Porter spilled Joe Noblet’s free-kick and Gibson fried home.

Linnets went up the other end and restored their two-goal lead within a minute through Freddie Potter, but a minute it was 3-2 as Anthony Stayte beat his man out wide and crossed for Gibson to head his second.

Gate threw plenty of men forward, including both centre-backs, but couldn’t force an equaliser. Their best chance fell to Noblet in the dying seconds but he couldn’t keep a free-kick down.

Going into the final week of the season, any three of the premier division’s bottom five could still go down.

Silsden’s win at AFC Liverpool has left Gate just one point above the bottom three and made tomorrow’s derby away to bottom club AFC Blackpool all the more important.

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: Fletcher, Ferguson, Westwood, Trout, Higham, Stayte, Hall, Gibson, Noblet, Tanser, Riley; subs: Penswick, Colquhoun, Buchan, Fishwick, Richards.