Ashton Athletic 0 Squires Gate 1: Boyd spot on to extend unbeaten run

A second-half penalty from James Boyd sealed a big three points on the road for Gate in the North West Counties League.

By James Ashton
Sunday, 28th November 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th November 2021, 4:42 pm

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Following Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Vauxhall Motors in the premier division, Gate stretched their unbeaten league run to four matches.

Manager Luke Evans named an unchanged starting 11, with Nathan Bartram and Jacob Ridings returning to the bench in place of Josh Pollard and Max Rogers.

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James Boyd slots home Gate's winning penalty at Ashton Athletic Picture: IAN MOORE

Boyd drove forward straight from kick-off and fired narrowly wide of the Ashton goal from outside the box.

The heavy winds were making it difficult for both sides, though Gate defender Luke Holden did well to clear a dangerous free-kick over the bar on eight minutes.

An excellent cross from Gate’s Ryan Riley was met by Josh Westwood only for the captain’s header to be well held by the goalkeeper.

Gate did have the ball in the net on 22 minutes, when Sope Awe slotted home from Boyd’s pass, but the offside flag was raised quickly to keep the game goalless.

A good block from Gate’s Isaac Abankwah followed by a big save from Mike Hale saw the teams go into the break on level terms.

Good play down the left by Boyd and Riley ended with the latter firing high and wide as Gate had the first chance of the second half, then Awe’s driving run into the Ashton box ended with a shot deflected for a corner.

Ashton had the best chance yet in the 59th minute, when Hale saved on the edge of his box and the follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Jake Higham.

The match-winning penalty came two minutes later, after Awe again broke through and was taken out. Boyd stepped up and fired into the top corner.

Gate were less happy on 75 minutes, when a foul on Higham as he drove down the left resulted in a broken ankle for the Gate player.

The visitors remained solid at the back and had chances of a second.

Riley fired a free-kick over the bar before Awe and Boyd had big opportunities.

Awe did brilliantly to spin his man but his shot was parried at the near-post for a corner, which fell for Boyd and he fired agonisingly over.

These misses didn’t matter,though, as the win lifted Evans’ men to 14th in the table and three points above Ashton.

Gate: Hale, Abankwah, Higham, Gray, Holden, Westwood, Riley, Webster, Iley, Awe, Boyd; Subs: Welsh, Mekkaoui-Abouzaid, Bartram, Hothersall, Ridings

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