Squires Gate 0 1874 Northwich 4: New leaders in first-half blitz

Josh Pollard impressed in the second half for Gate Picture: ALBERT COOPER
Josh Pollard impressed in the second half for Gate Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Four first-half goals consigned Squires Gate to another heavy defeat in this top v bottom clash in the North West Counties League.

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Jack Iley was handed a debut after joining Gate from AFC Darwen during the week, while the return of Ryan Riley was a welcome boost.

It was another tough assignment for new manager Luke Evans and his side against an in-form ’74 who knew victory could lift them to the top of the premier division.

Gate had the first chance after four minutes, when Iley was fouled but Josh Westwood could not get on the end of Ryan Charnley’s free-kick.

The visitors opened the scoring on 22 minutes, when Taylor Kennerley showed his poacher’s instinct inside the six-yard box.

Keeper Jordan Gidley pulled off a good save but the ball fell for the alert Kennerley to convert at the second attempt. Dean Ing shot well over as Gate looked for an equaliser but they switched off at the back as Northwich made it 2-0 on 28 minutes.

A quick free-kick was played down the left and the ball inside found Jake Parker, who shot beyond Gidley into the far corner of the net.

Both sides had chances as Lee Knight chipped over for ’74, whose keeper Tony Aghayere was dispossessed outside his box at the other end. Iley looked to take advantage and found Ing but he lost the ball before he could take aim.

Northwich showed a ruthlessness Gate could not match as they closed out the game with two goals in five minutes before half-time.

A soft-looking penalty went the visitors’ way when an attacker was bundled over and Harry Cain converted on 39 minutes.

The same player then fired home a loose ball when Gate failed to clear a corner.

Evans brought on Riccardo Egidi, Matthew Farnworth and Josh Pollard for a second half which saw Gate much-improved, though they still could not put keeper Aghayere under pressure.

The visiting number one also guessed right to deny Egidi from the penalty spot in the final five minutes.

Northwich 1874 did climb to the top with this win, while Gate remain second-bottom, above Litherland REMYCA on goal difference and with only one victory to show for this season’s nine games.

That’s three straight defeats for Evans, whose side will need to dust themselves down quickly for another visit from Northwich opposition, this time Victoria, on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Gate: Gidley, Rossall, Westwood, Parker, Riley, Higham, Turner, Charnley, Ing, Boyd, Iley; subs: Mullen, Fox, Pollard, Egidi, Farnworth.

AFC Blackpool’s fixture away to Huddersfield club Golcar United in first division north fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.