Squires Gate 2 Charnock Richard 1: Gate continue fine run and AFC Blackpool also have a victory for Christmas
Squires Gate stretched their unbeaten run to five games with victory over one of the North West Counties League’s form sides at Brian Addison Stadium.
Charnock Richard were unbeaten in six games and arrived in Marton in second place in the premier division.
Gate boss Luke Evans made just one change from Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Winsford United as Matthew Farnworth came into midfield in place of Josh Pollard, who dropped to the bench.
James Boyd, who scored a hat-trick in midweek, gave Gate the best of starts as he turned in a Sam Staunton-Turner cross inside the box to open the scoring after just four minutes.
The visitors had a chance of their own but Jordan Gidley was on hand to deny them.
However, Charnock were level in the 24th minute, when Gate couldn’t clear the ball from their box and a game of head tennis ended with a goal from striker Jordan Darr, though the hosts felt Gidley had been fouled.
Gate went close to regaining the lead before half-time when Den Ing got on the end of Gary Pett’s cross but his header wa brilliantly saved.
Striker Carl Grimshaw squandered a chance for the home side early in the second half, when he headed over the bar.
Luke Holden got involved with Darr and found himself in the book but the game was there for the taking for Gate.
Boss Evans smelled blood and made two attacking changes, introducing Pollard and flying winger Nana Adarkwa, who was back after injury.
And it was Adarkwa who scored the winning goal six minutes from time with his first touch of the game.
It rewarded the determination of Ing, who chased a long ball forward and took a quick throw to Adarkwa, who fired home.
The winger looked to have set up a third Gate goal when he beat the Charnock right-back and found Pollard, who missed an open goal.
Ashley Young took out his frustrations on matchwinner Adarkwa, bringing him down from behind, and Charnock ended the game with 10 men.
Gate’s excellent run has lifted them into mid-table and they aim to continue their progress at Longridge Town on Boxing Day.
Gate: Gidley, Gourley, Westwood, Holden, Higham, Turner, Farnworth, Riley, Boyd, Ing, Pett. Subs: Parker, Dodd, Pollard, Iley, Adarkwa.
AFC Blackpool also go into Christmas on a winning note after a 2-0 home victory over Ashton Town in first division north.
Goals at either end of the game saw the Mechanics leapfrog the visitors to climb into fourth place, with Jamie Thomas scoring in the first minute and Carnan Dawson in the 88th.
AFC also have a Lancashire derby to look forward to on Boxing Day, when they visit Garstang.