SQUIRES GATE 0 AFC BLACKPOOL 1: Full report
The long-awaited first derby of the season between these Blackpool rivals was won by the visitors, giving them a massive boost in their bid to avoid relegation in the North West Counties League.
Ben Seear scored the only goal on 17 minutes, lifting Blackpool off the bottom of the premier division and within three points of safety with games in hand.
This third successive defeat keeps Gate in the relegation scrap, though they are five points clear of the bottom three, and they played most of the game with 10 men after captain Andy Richards was shown a straight red.
The corresponding fixture at AFC has been postponed three times and it was the visitors who made the livelier start.Jack Williams, Blackpool’s recent recruit from AFC Fylde, was finding space behind the Gate defence and Gate keeper Josh Woods again had to be alert to deny him.
Gate struggled to cope with AFC’s enthusiasm and a great ball by Mark Thornbur found the run of Seear, who headed into the far corner.
Gate’s first chance finally arrived after 20 minutes but Ryan Tanser blasted over. The home side were getting a foothold in the game when Richards was adjudged to have two feet off the ground in a sliding challenge and was sent off.
Even so, Gate started the second half at a quicker tempo, Joe Noblet turning in the box but poking his shot wide, then Tanser’s thunderous strike was blocked by team-mate Buchan.
The 10 men began to get on top around the hour mark but couldn’t make it pay as Mark Hall headed their best chance into the side-netting from Billy McKenna’s cross. When Tanser’s chip was easily saved it was game up for Gate.
Indeed, AFC should have added a late second when substitute Aaron Fleming had an easy tap-in but was denied by Woods, who got down well.
AFC manager Stuart Parker told The Gazette: “Apart from a 15-minute spell in the second half we dominated the game, and Taylor and Carroll were very strong in defence. The win was well deserved.”
Gate: Woods, Richards, Westwood, Ferguson, Higham, McKenna, Penswick, Hall, Noblet, Tanser, Buchan; subs: Fletcher, Colquhoun, Gibson, Stayte, Rowley.
Blackpool: Speight, Carroll, Taylor, Vaughan, Betteridge, Waters, Thornbur, Wilks, B Seear, Farrar, Williams; subs; Fleming, Bottomley, Duffield.