Padiham 2, Squires Gate 1
SQUIRES Gate paid the ultimate penalty at Padiham last night, when a harsh 73rd-minute spot-kick awarded by referee James Wilson resulted in victory for the East Lancashire side.
But it could have been a different tale had the Stockport official sent off home skipper Martin Parkes for a scathing tackle on Gate defender Andy Richards on 67 minutes, having booked the same player 13 minutes earlier to bring about Gate’s equaliser.
Louis Mayers’ free-kick was curled home in some style, and at that stage it looked as if the visitors would go on to win.
However, Gate defender Stuart Horn was adjudged to have tripped first-half scorer Andy Sensale on the edge of the box and Jordan Hulme despatched the spot-kick.
But the game could have gone the way of the Fylde side, who played some attractive football and bagged two corners in the opening 30 seconds as they started the game at real pace.
Gate were hit by a sucker punch after 16 minutes, when a long through ball found home striker Sensale in space and he lobbed home from 25 yards. And it was just after half-time that the game seemed to be turned on its head when the visitors were handed a lifeline with a free-kick outside the box.
However, it became a night of frustration for Gate player-manager Russ McKenna, who watched from the touchline and said: “Decisions did go against us at crucial times but we really needed to make our own luck.
“I’ve told the lads that we have to change the luck ourselves. We should have got something from the game, that’s for sure, but we need to get tonight out of our system quickly for weekend.”
Atherton Collieries visit Gate in the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday and McKenna added: “They don’t come much bigger than the FA Cup, and while recent results haven’t gone our way l’m confident we can regroup and beat Atherton.”