Squires Gate 0 Runcorn Town 0: Injury-hit Gate rue missed chances
Injury-hit Gate suffered a disappointing defeat at home to struggling Runcorn in the North West Counties League premier division.
Luke Evans’ men were looking to build on a three-game unbeaten run but were without nine outfield players.
Gate made two changes to the side which drew impressively at Congleton Town last Tuesday, with Max Rogers and Josh Pollard coming in for the unavailable Kieran Feeney and Jack Iley. Under-23s striker Fraser Hallas was among the substitutes.
The hosts made the worst possible start, going behind after just four minutes.
Keeper Mike Hale misjudged the flight of a long throw, leaving Kevin Exell free to smash the ball into the back of the net.
Gate responded well and quickly got on the front foot, with Pollard cleverly flicking a low corner towards goal but the ball was kept out.
Saad Mekkaoui-Abouzaid then made a brilliant weaving run forward but his final ball let him down.
Jake Higham volleyed wide from a tight angle on 20 minutes, then created a better chance when his superb cross from the left was met by Dean Ing, who headed just over despite great movement.
The hosts went even closer two minutes later, when Ing played Jacob Ridings in behind the defence. However, his effort was brilliantly saved by Adam Reid.
Ridings then won two free-kicks in quick succession, the second of these struck from just outside the box by Ing and tipped over by Reid.
Gate were made to pay for their missed chances as the visitors doubled their lead in the 43rd minute.
Runcorn won the ball in the final third and Sam Hunt's shot found the back of the net despite Isaac Abankwah’s best efforts to clear off the line.
James Boyd was introduced early in the second half to add threat to Gate's attack and they soon got on top, defender Cameron Gourley firing just wide from inside the Runcorn box.
Ridings saw a penalty shout waved away and substitute Ollie Burgess almost made an instant impact on 67 minutes, his powerful shot from the edge of the area turned around the post by the impressive Reid after taking a slight deflection.
Reid did well again, closing Ing down quickly as the ball ran loose behind the Runcorn defence, then Boyd fired over on the rebound.
Gate pressed until the end as Boyd saw another kept out as it headed towards the bottom corner, then Ing's header from a corner was cleared off the line.
But with Hale up for the set-piece, Runcorn were able to break the length of the field and tap their third into an empty net.
Disappointed Gate remain 14th but are back in action at home to fourth-place Irlam on Tuesday.
Gate: Hale, Abankwah,Higham, Mekkaoui-Abouzaid,Gourley, Westwood, Ridings, Webster,Pollard, Ing, Rogers; Subs: Burgess, Boyd, Bartram, Welsh, Hallas
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