Squires Gate’s wait for their first point of the season in the North West Counties League continues after this nine-goal thriller.
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Gate fought back from 4-0 down at St Luke’s Barton Stadium and threatened a dramatic revival with two last-gasp goals.
The visitors started well in Cheshire as Dean Ing won the ball back to tee up Luke Noble for a shot which was blocked.
Noble was involved again on 11 minutes, exchanging passes with Ryan Charnley, but nobody was able to meet his teasing ball into the six-yard box.
The hosts were gifted their first opportunity when Jake Higham’s underhit back-pass left Dave Short through on goal but keeper Josh Woods was quickly off his line to deny the striker.
Winsford opened the scoring on 27 minutes, when Sam Madeley bundled the ball past Woods following a scramble in the box.
They doubled their lead on 36 minutes, when Madeley struck an early goal of the season contender from 40 yards.
Their third three minutes later was more fortunate, Nathan Cotterell’s free-kick from the right touchline somehow evading everyone and ending up in the net.
Three down it half-time, it got worse for Gate as Madeley pounced in the box to complete his hat-trick on 52 minutes.
Gate pulled one back when centre-half Josh Westwood came up for a corner and scrambled the ball home – his first goal since returning to the club.
Woods kept Gate in the contest by making a smart save with his feet, then getting back to claw the ball off his goal-line.
Gate had two big chances in two minutes from deliveries by Charnley, though James Boyd headed the first over from inside the six-yard box, then Ryan Dodd too missed the target.
The visitors continued to threaten as substitute Josh Pollard found Boyd, whose shot was well saved. Boyd then returned the favour but Pollard’s first-time shot was straight at the keeper.
Gate did make it 4-2 after good work by Sam Staunton-Turner,won the ball back twice. He found Noble, whose shot rebounded for Boyd to fire low past the keeper from the edge of the box.
Ing had a chance to pull another goal back but left himself too narrow an angle after rounding the keeper.
Just as Gate were in the ascendancy, the home side struck again on 78 minutes, substitute Obi Anoruo turning the ball in from three yards.
But Gate fought to the finish and Charnley’s deep cross was headed home by Westwood for his second to make it 5-3.
And four minutes into stoppage time right-back Joey Mullen completed the scoring with his first for the club.
Gate are one of only two premier division clubs still without a point but they will take positives into Tuesday’s game at Padiham.
Gate: Woods, Mullen, Westwood, Rossall, Higham, Turner, Charnley, Dodd, Boyd, Noble, Ing; subs: Pennington, Morris, Pollard, Salthouse.