NEW manager Garry Hargreaves is still seeking his first point at Gate after the first home game of his tenure ended in defeat by fourth-placed Town, who turned the game on its head in six first-half minutes.
Hargreaves looked to have waved a magic as his new-look side bossed the opening exchanges and deservedly took an early lead when Andy Harvie jinked past two players and slotted home after 10 minutes.
He almost doubled Gate’s lead 10 minutes later, when he beat the defence only to see his shot hit the upright. The rebound fell to striker Alan Coar, who shot wide.
Then followed that devastating six-minute spell in which Congleton scored three times.
First, Michael Koral scored from the penalty spot after what looked a harsh handball decision on 25 minutes.
Then Chris Smith scored with a shot on the rebound two minutes later, and as Gate pressed for an equaliser Smith headed in a cross from the right for his second.
Gate brought on striker on Josh Miller for the second half, but the visitors’ defence was well drilled and the rain and cold made the final whistle welcome.
Hargreaves said: “ I can handle today’s defeat better than last week’s (4-0 at Glossop). We were unlucky in parts against a good team.
“We gave three more players a debut, and I felt there was a 100 per cent improvement in attitude. Our shape was much better, we defended well from free-kicks and corners. The goals we conceded give us things to work on before Tuesday. The team showed good spirit”.
Barnoldswick Town are tomorrow’s visitors to the British Legion Stadium (7.45pm).
Gate: Thompson, Nay, McEvoy, Gardener, Botham, Benfield, Dodwell, Forbes, Coar, Cooper, Harvie; subs: Cragg, Walker, Miller.