Squires Gate’s mini-revival under manager Luke Evans has stalled with back-to-back home defeats in the NW Counties premier division.
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Ashton Athletic were three goals up by half-time at the Brian Addison Stadium on Saturday, scoring again late on for a 4-0 victory.
Adam Gilchrist’s 18th-minute opener, Matty Reid’s screamer into the top corner six minutes later and a Marcus Cosani strike three minutes before the break put eighth-placed Ashton in control.
Joshua Nicholson completed the scoring six minutes from time and Gate could muster little in response beyond Josh Pollard’s shot into the side-netting.
The defeat leaves Gate two places and three points off the bottom, though they do return to action on Monday at Whitchurch Alport (8pm kick-off).
However, they face a tough task to collect any points away to a fourth-placed side who know victory could lift them into second spot.