AFC Blackpool 3 Squires Gate 1

Blackpool celebrate their opening goal  Picture: ALBERT COOPER
Blackpool celebrate their opening goal Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Blackpool completed a North West Counties League double over their resort rivals to give their premier division survival hopes a massive boost.

With only a point to show from their last six games as a punishing schedule of 10 games in 22 days took its toll, Blackpool rediscovered their form at the perfect time to climb off the bottom.

Gate had impressed in defeat against leaders Runcorn Linnets on Saturday and started positively, having a goal disallowed on 16 minutes when Josh Westwood was judged to have pushed his marker before heading in

Ryan Riley and Riley Tanser fired off-target and Gate were to rue their missed chances as AFC broke to open the scoring through Mark Thornbur on 28 minutes. The scorer was forced off injured shortly afterwards.

AFC keeper Adam Caunce had to be alert on 35 minutes to prevent Joe Noblet’s free-kick finding the top corner.

Defender Kevan Ford headed over the last chance of the half for AFC and it remained 1-0 at half-time.

The home side took control after the break and took the lead on 50 minutes, when winger Aaron Fleming fired a free-kick into the top corner.

Riley skied a great chance for Gate, but it took two superb saves by visiting keeper Ben Fletcher to deny AFC before Jack Williams chipped their third from a long goal-kick on 67 minutes.

Gate pulled one back on 74 minutes, player-boss converting after a scramble in the box, but his side couldn’t close the gap further and it took a point-blank save from Fletcher to prevent Fleming making it four.

Only three points separate the bottom five approaching Saturday’s final fixtures, though the current bottom three all have another game to play first.

Blackpool will stay up if they can win their two games against West Didsbury and Chorlton, the first of which is away tomorrow.

Gate, who finish their season at Ashton Athletic, will be hoping third-bottom slip up at Darwen tonight.

Blackpool: Caunce, Richardson, Betteridge, Carroll, Ford, Thornbur, Waters, Muscroft, Williams, Seear, Fleming; subs: Green, Bottomley, Wilkes, Shaw

Gate: Fletcher, Richards, Ferguson, Hall, Westwood, Penswick, Stayte, Noblet, Tanser, Riley, Gibson, subs: Higham, McKenna, Fishwick, Buchan, Moxon.