Squires Gate 2 Congleton Town 1: Riley grabs winner in thrilling finish
Squires Gate made it back-to-back North West Counties League wins in dramatic style, with a clincher deep in stoppage-time after the Cheshire visitors had equalised on 90 minutes.
Manager Luke Evans welcomed back Josh Westwood in defence as Ryan Dodd dropped to the bench.
The first half was fairly even as Gate saw more of the ball but Congleton looked dangerous on the break.
Both sides had an early chance as Gate keeper Jordan Gidley was forced into a good save, while at the other end Josh Pollard’s shot was blocked.
Dean Ing sent Ryan Riley through on goal but the winger’s shot was deflected away for a corner.
Both sides were denied by the keeper before half-time, Riley again going through on goal as he ran on to Sam Staunton-Turner’s through-ball. And Gidley again came to Gate’s rescue after a mistake by Westwood.
Cameron Gourley went close to opening the scoring for Gate after the break but headed powerfully over the bar.
Evans’ home side continued to get closer, a goal-line clearance denying them from a free-kick.
It was James Boyd who finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes, beating the keeper after Congleton failed to clear.
Pollard’s shot was blocked from Dean Ing’s knockdown as Gate sought a second to seal the points.
It it looked like their failure to increase their lead would be punished when defender Kieron Brislen popped up with a late equaliser.
But there was to be a final twist in the third minute of stoppage time, when Congleton had a player sent off for a late challenge on Ing and Riley curled the free-kick home from the edge of the box.
The win lifts Gate to 15th in the premier division, one point behind Congleton .
Gate: Gidley, Farnworth, Gourley, Westwood, Higham, Turner, Pollard, Riley, Boyd, Ing, Iley. Subs: Hudson, Parker, Dodd, Rufus.