Atherton Collieries 1 Squires Gate 1

Brett Dawson equalises for Gate  Picture: ALBERT COOPER
Brett Dawson equalises for Gate Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Brett Dawson’s last-minute equaliser sent Gate top of the Hallmark Security League.

They did so without striker Ric Seear, who scored twice in the opening 4-1 win over 1874 Northwich but remained on the bench with a slight injury.

Dawson had the first chance of the match from a free-kick, forcing Colls keeper Adam Reid into a save low at his near-post.

Reid was almost the villain two minutes later, when his underhit pass was intercepted by Ryan Riley, who shot wide.

The home side made the breakthrough on 36 minutes. Colls countered quickly after Jamie Gibson had scuffed a shot for Gate, a mistake by Paul Carroll in the visitors’ defence resulting in striker Mark Battersby heading home.

Danny Penswick introduced Joe Noblet and Alex McKendrick, and Gate were much improved after half-time.

Gate had several set-piece opportunities, McKendrick firing wide from a free-kick, but couldn’t capitalise as Colls looked to protect their lead.

They almost extended it just past the hour, when Gate’s Jake Higham lost the ball on the edge of the area and Ben Hardcastle was denied by Ben Fletcher’s diving save.

The onrushing Ryan Tanser couldn’t quite get his head on to Higham’s lovely chip and the game seemed to be up for Gate as the clock ticked into the final minute.

But then a long ball found Dawson, who controlled well in acres of space and fired low across Reid.

Gate, who are likely to lose first place in the premier division tonight, are away to league rivals West Didsbury and Chorlton in the preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: Fletcher, Richards, Penwsick, Carroll, Higham, Hall, Stayte, Thornber, Gibson, Riley, Dawson; Subs, B. Seear, R.Seear, Noblet, McKendrick, Tanser.

Gate’s neighbours AFC Blackpool are at home to Carlisle City in the first division tonight (7.45pm)