Squires Gate picked up a valuable point with a 2-2 draw at in-form Winsford United but it could – and should – have been all three points.
A 76th minute penalty for Winsford denied Gate all three points as they had the majority of the chances in new manager Andy Clarkson’s first game in charge.
New signing Lewis Masters made his debut at centre-half with the returning Andrew Richards starting at left-back.
The improvement from Gate was clear to see early on with Clarkson’s side looking fired up for this game.
Gal Pett could have put Gate ahead after just two minutes from Mike Hall’s corner, rising highest but heading over the bar.
Gate were forced into an early change after seven minutes when Mark Thornber clashed knees with a Winsford player.
A bit of quick play from Pett almost set Gate through on 13 minutes.
He launched a quick long throw into the path of Jack Williams but it was touched out for a corner which came to nothing.
The home side would take the lead against the run of play on 22 minutes.
A double save by Ben Fletcher denied them before Robbie Hatton fired in from a shot off the bar.
Gate could have scored five minutes later when Tarren Moxon won the ball high up the pitch and crossed towards Pett, only for the keeper to claim the ball first.
Pett then had a chance of his own on 30 minutes from the edge of the box, turning and shooting wide of the post.
Gate would get their deserved goal five minutes before half time.
Hall’s superb free-kick found Pett at the back post, where he headed across goal for Mark Buchan to equalise.
Gate would then go on to take the lead.
Dean Ing twice won the ball on the edge of the box before playing in Williams, who made no mistake to fire past the keeper and give Gate a 2-1 lead at half-time.
The second half saw Gate go close to a third goal as Moxon beat his marker and crossed for Pett, who struck the post from a very tight angle.
Gate had the best chance of the game to put the game out of sight on 75 minutes as Williams was sent through one-on-one but the keeper did well to smother the ball after Williams tried to round him.
With Gate looking like seeing out the three points, the home side would grab an equaliser out of nothing.
A ball into the back post that should have been seen out for a goal kick was handballed by Alex Colquhoun as he rose to head away and Justin Pickering converting the penalty from the spot.
Gate: Fletcher, Colquhoun, Masters, Carroll, Richards, Pett, Hall, Thornber, Ing, Williams, Buchan. Subs: Moorhead, O’Mahoney, Cech, Moxon.