Squires Gate 0 Whitchurch Alport 0: Ten men frustrate Gate

James Boyd heads wide for Gate against Alport  Picture: ALBERT COOPER
James Boyd heads wide for Gate against Alport Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Squires Gate picked up a point and a clean sheet against 10-man Whitchurch  after conceding seven at Bootle.

That 7-3 Friday night defeat halted a six-game unbeaten run and Gate manager Luke Evans was looking to kick-start another such run in this clash between two mid-table sides in the North West Counties League premier division.

Evans made changes to the team that lost at second-placed Bootle, with Ryan Dodd, Matt Farnworth, Jack Iley and Nana Adarkwa all coming into the starting side.

However, it was the visitors who started the game on the front foot but didn’t have their shooting boots on, firing wide after four minutes.

Cameron Gourley, who has been a stand-out player in Gate’s back-line for the past month, made a superb last-ditch tackle after 15 minutes to deny Alport inside the box.

Gate’s first effort of note came on the half-hour, when Dean Ing went through on goal but the striker’s low shot was comfortably saved by Dave Parton.

Blackpool FC’s Adarkwa showed his threat when he tricked his way into the box with fancy footwork on 38 minutes but the youngster’s cross was too heavy for Iley at the back post.

The game seemed to be turning Gate’s way when Alport’s Alex Hughes was sent to the sin-bin, then was shown a second yellow card for swearing at an assistant referee.

That left the visitors facing the whole second half with 10 men and Ing had a great chance to take an early advantage.

Adarkwa found him in the box but Ing steered his shot over the top.

Gate upped the tempo in the second half but struggled with the final ball to open the scoring.

Sam Staunton-Turner looked for Ing again in the box on 64 minutes, when the referee ignored Gate’s protests that the striker was held back.

Josh Pollard and Ryan Riley were introduced for Gate, the latter almost making an instant impact.

He made a surging run inside and found James Boyd but the move broke down inside the Alport box.

Jake Higham was the next Gate player to take aim at the Alport goal after surging forward out of defence but his shot along the ground was tame and did not trouble the keeper.

Higham tried again seven minutes later and this time saw a far more powerful shot cannon back off the crossbar.

Substitute Josh Pollard had the last chance for Gate in added time, when he looked to curl the ball around the bodies in a crowded box but his shot flew wide.

Alport are still ninth while Gate remain 12th, still seeking their first win in a tough opening month of 2020.

Gate: Gidley, Dodd, Gourley, Westwood, Higham, Turner, Farnworth, Adarkwa, Iley, Boyd, Ing; subs: Garrett, Parker, Riley, Pollard.