Ashton Athletic 3 Squires Gate 2: Late double downs Gate
Gate suffered a harsh defeat in Ashton-on-Makerfield, conceding two late goals.
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The visitors came from behind to lead 2-1 only to succumb to a late onslaught by the North West Counties premier division’s fourth-placed side.
Gate manager Luke Evans made just the one change to the side that beat Skelmersdale United seven days earlier, with Josh Pollard coming as Sam Staunton-Turner nursed a knock.
Ashton keeper Martin Pearson had to be alert early on to deny combination of Dean Ing and James Boyd after just three minutes, though Gate couldn’t capitalise on the resulting corner.
The home side showed why they are so high up the table with some impressive passages of play in Gate’s half. A shot across the Gate box was followed by Adam Gilchrist firing over after another passing move.
It didn’t take long for Ashton to attack again and this time Gilchrist found the target.
An uncharacteristic miskick from Gate number one Jordan Gidley fell to defender Josh Westwood, who tried to return the ball to his keeper.
However, Gilchrist pounced on the weak header before rounding Gidley and rolling the ball into the empty net after 15 minutes.
Gate looked to reply when Gary Pett flicked the ball on to Ing but his first-time shot was well saved by Martin Pearson.
Ashton had a great chance to extend their lead in the 40th minute but a shot from inside the six-yard box was somehow mishit.
Gate made the most of this let-off with an equaliser two minutes before half-time.
Gidley’s clearance found Ryan Riley on the right wing. He in terms found James Boyd, who set up Ing to turn and fire past Pearson, making the half-time score 1-1.
Riley had a chance to put Gate ahead at the start of the second period but the winger, usually deadly from free-kicks, couldn’t find the target with his set-piece after a foul on Ing.
Substitute Jack Iley then gave Gate the lead in the 74th minute, when he finished off a quick counter with a cool finish. Sadly for Gate, the lead lasted just two minutes.
Defender Cameron Gourley was adjudged to have handled in the area following an unlucky bounce and Gilchrist sent Gidley the wrong way from the penalty spot, his second goal of the game.
And just two minutes later the hosts struck again, Marcus Cusani firing in from the edge of the box after Gidley had punched a corner clear.
The last 10 minutes saw Gate press in vain and the defeat leaves them 12th going into next Saturday’s match at Rylands, who are sixth.
Gate: Gidley, Dodd, Gourley, Westwood, Higham, Riley, Farnworth, Pollard, Boyd, Ing, Pett; subs: Holden, Turner, Johanson, Ilen, Adarkwa.