Squires Gate 2 Barnoldswick 3

Ric Seear scores his second   Picture: ALBERT COOPER
Ric Seear scores his second Picture: ALBERT COOPER
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Two late goals by striker Ric Seear couldn’t save Gate from defeat after the visitors took a grip on this Hallmark Security League contest with three second-half strikes.

The hosts looked potent up front, with fit-again top scorer Seear back alongside Mark Buchan, who had scored five goals in the last three games.

But for all Gate’s possession and chances in the first half, they couldn’t break the deadlock.

The first chance fell to Buchan on 14 minutes but his header from Andy Richards’ lovely cross drifted wide.

There were warning signs from Barnoldswick, who saw several shots blocked in the first half and went close with another from a short corner.

Two Gate shots just cleared the bar at the end of the half - the first from Paul Carroll after a clearance reached him on the edge of the box, the second a free-kick from just outside the area by Ryan Riley.

By contrast, the goals came thick and fast in the second half, Barnoldswick taking the lead just two minutes in.

Harry Thompson weaved through the defence unchallenged to slot past deputy keeper Andy Speight.

The lead was doubled five minutes later, when Carroll conceded a soft free-kick just outside the box and Andy Hill struck home the set-piece to Speight’s right.

And Barlick were in total control on 72 minutes, when striker Mark Threlfall seized on a weak back-pass to slot in the third.

This finally sparked Gate into life and two superb individual goals in five minutes set up a grandstand finish.

The first on 82 minutes saw Seear battle his way past a defender before chipping the keeper into the far corner.

Then the striker broke straight up the middle and chipped the onrushing keeper to give Gate a late glimmer of hope.

But despite two last-gasp corners and a low save by the visiting keeper, 10th-placed Gate could not force an equaliser and turn their attentions to Saturday’s visit to Maine Road.

MARK ASHMORE

Gate: Speight, Richards, Carroll, Penswick, Higham, Kay, Gibson, Stayte, Riley, Buchan, R.Seear. Subs: Noblet, B.Seear, Tanser, Thornber.