Bears make it Four in a Row at Squires Gate
Congleton kept their winning start t the season with a hard fought victory at in-form Squires Gate on Saturday. Dan Cope made his debut up front with Liam Moran dropping to the bench.
The Bears started the game strongly and won a couple of early corners as they pressed the home side, but the defence dealt with them well. On 7 minutes the home side almost broke opened the scoring when Pett intercepted a short back pass, but couldn’t capitalise and the ball was cleared. Billy Hasler-Cregg and Dean Warburton were playing some great balls into the Gate area, causing problems for the home defence. It was all Bears for the opening 15 minutes, with the home side reduced to breakaway chances. On 15 Mini Adegbenro was unlucky with a shot which came back off the bar with the keeper beaten.
Squires Gate then started to get into the game and had a couple of chances as Riley and Pett both had attempts on goal, with Craig Ellison standing firm. On 22 minutes a home free kick just outside the box was fired in but the wall did its job and the resulting corner was cleared.
The Bears won a penalty on 28 minutes when Hasler-Cregg was brought down in the area. Up stepped Adegbenro, but Fletcher guessed right in the home goal and saved, Dan Cope’s shot from the rebound was also saved.
On the half hour it was the Bears bars turn to rattle as Gray hammered a shot which cannoned off it. Ryder then went close for the Bears with a header from a corner then went just over.
As the half drew to a close, Gate were awarded a penalty when a cross to the far post saw Dawson brought down. Pett stepped up and fired his spot-kick well over the bar.
Half Time: 0-0
The Bears started the second half on top and both Warburton and Adegbenro were unlucky with shots that went just wide. Hasler-Cregg then made a superb run on the right, rounded several defenders before winning a free-kick. Cope took the kick and his shot hit the outside of the post.
Pett then had a great chance for the home side, put through one-on-one with Ellison, but he lost his composure and fired high and wide. Chances now started to appear at both ends; Joshua Ryder with a blocked header for the Bears and Ing for Gate amongst several. The Bears defence was once again looking solid and dealt with the threats well. Bears sub Dominik Williams played a good cross into the box, but no one could connect and Tom Stephens saw his cross tipped over the bar.
The deadlock was broken on 79 minutes. Adegbenro played John Main through, his initial shot was blocked by Fletcher, but he pounced on the rebound and volleyed it past the helpless keeper.
Gate then threw everything at Congleton in the final ten minutes in search of the equaliser . It was all backs to the wall as the pressure mounted and Fletcher, the home custodian made a foray into the box to add to the pressure. Ellison was up to the job once again, catching under pressure and turning one shot over the bar.
The full time whistle came and the Bears winning run and clean sheet record rolls on. This is the first time since 2010/11 that the Bears have won their opening 4 games (that season it stretched to 5 wins)
Team: Ellison, Stephens, Peters (Williams 65), Ryder, Morris, Griffith, Hasler-Cregg, Warburton, Cope (Moran 65), Main (Jamieson 80), Adegbenro: Unused subs: Taylor, Hibbert
Bears Man of the Match: Craig Ellison
This Saturday the Bears are in FA Cup action when they travel to South Yorkshire to play Handsworth Parramore. The game will be played at the home of Worksop Town.