Gate's late goal secures safety this season
Squires Gate FC secured their Hallmark Security Premier Division status with a 3-2 win over the league's form team, Runcorn Linnets.
Linnets came into the game third in the league but out of the title race, while Gate needed a win to secure their status in the league otherwise they’d have to go to New Mills on the last day and win.
Manager Danny Penswick fielded arguably his strongest side for this big game with Max Rothwell, Joe Noblet and Brett Dawson all coming back into the team to start.
In the searing Blackpool sun, the first five minutes looked like it was going to be a very close affair, both teams playing a very attacking style.
It was Linnets who would go close first after nine minutes as Kieran Nolan fired in a lovely strike from outside the box which was always rising.
Gate defended consecutive corners from Linnets well with Joe Griffith punching the ball clear before Tarren Moxon was fouled.
The visitors would make the break through in the 27th minute in fortunate fashion.
Griffith was caught with the sun in his eyes from a corner and saw the ball go straight through his hands direct from the kick, Daniel McKenna being credited with the goal.
Gate were then on the back foot for a while and had to work hard with Linnets having a strong period of possession.
Griffith made two vital saves to deny the visitors, firstly holding a dangerous cross inside a crowded six-yard box before denying Linnets with a point-blank save at his near post.
Gate then grabbed a goal back when Paul Carroll’s ball forward from defence found Brett Dawson.
He flicked the ball through to Moxon, who sent it over keeper Adam Caunce before tapping it into an empty net with ease.
Having gone into half-time level with their visitors, Gate almost took the lead on 52 minutes.
A great ball forward by Penswick found Moxon but his chip was saved by Linnets’ keeper Caunce.
Gate then had appeals for a penalty turned down on 56 minutes when Paul Alexander clearly had his shirt pulled in the area but the ref waved away their protest’s.
Paul Alexander was then in the right place at the right time to clear the ball near enough off the line from a Linnets corner on 72 minutes.
Gate would then take the lead on 75 minutes when Dawson was found in the box and headed past Caunce.
Just four minutes later, however, and Linnets would level the game.
A long throw into the box wasn’t dealt with by Gate, allowing substitute Stuart Wellstead to turn and shoot inside the six-yard box to make it 2-2.
The winning goal was Gate’s, though they left it late as Dawson ran clear of the Linnets’ defence before scoring past Caunce to win the game.
The win sees Gate safe for another season with just their second win of 2017.
Their last game of the season is at already relegated New Mills next Saturday.
Squires Gate: Griffith, Richards, Penswick, Carroll, Alexander, Hall, Noblet, Seear, Rothwell, Dawson, Moxon. Subs: Thornber, Waters, Casey, Smith, Moorhead.