REPORT: Runcorn Town 2-3 Squires Gate
Squires Gate picked up a second successive victory against another one of the leagues promotion hopefuls on Saturday afternoon.
A Ric Seear double and a second goal for the club from James Boyd made for an enjoyable afternoon for Gate before a Dale Jennings penalty 25 minutes from time made for a nervy finish to the game.
Manager Andy Clarkson made one change to his side from last Saturday's win away at Bootle, Ryan Charnley replacing Ryan Riley in the starting 11.
Gate looked to control the game early on against 3rd place Runcorn Town and had some early chances. Riccardo Egidi and Ric Seear looked to solidify their partnership up front in just their second game playing together and caused Town problems from the start. Egidi was sent through on goal early on but he just timed his run wrong and was flagged for offside. In the 7th minute Seear was sent through by Ryan Charnley but Town keeper Adam Reid was off his line early to collect.
The two linked up again a minute later when Gate went close again. The ball crossed into the box was left by Egidi before Seear flicked it round the corner to the late arriving James Boyd but he just fired wide from the edge of the box.
Former Blackpool FC youngster Jamie Menagh looked to get the homeside on the attack in the 12th minute but his cross into the box was wayward and out for a goal kick.
Gate made their early possession count opening the scoring in the 19th minute. Young Defender Dan Gray picked out striker Ric Seear with a lovely timed ball, Seear on the last mans shoulder beat the defender for pace before firing under the keeper to give Gate the lead.
Seear and Gray were on hand again four minutes latter when they linked up for a second time. Gray's cross wasn't cleared by Town's defence and with Seear lurking, the striker controlled the ball and slotted into the bottom corner for his second.
Gate were allowed too much space by the hosts and got themselves in on goal again. Ryan Charnley getting into the six yard box but he tried to roll the ball around the keeper who got down well to save his teams blushes. Minutes later Gate hit Runcorn on the break after clearing their corner, James Boyd and Ric Seear breaking at speed but Boyd's pass to Seear for his hatrick was just ahead of the striker.
The homeside did manage to pull a goal back a minute before half time. Gate not staying on their feet on the edge of the box allowed Gary Burnett to wriggle past and fire past Fletcher.
Half time: Runcorn Town 1-2 Squires Gate
Looking for a reaction, Runcorn came out looking to grab a goal back quickly to level the game. Dale Jennings was sent through in the 54th minute and tried to lob Ben Fletcher but Fletcher caught the ball.
It was Gate though who would add their third goal of the game in the 60th minute. Ryan Charnley playing a lovely ball to find the run of James Boyd who beat the keeper one on one.
Gate were reduced to ten men in the 64th minute in what Gate thought were controversial circumstances. Ben Reader was shown a straight red for bringing Burnett down whilst also conceding a penalty. Gate though feeling that the new Double Jeopardy rule should have applied to the situation. Winger Dale Jennings was the man to grab a goal back for the homeside when he tucked away the penalty past Ben Fletcher.
Gate understandably looked to see out the game and deny Town an equalising goal. Gary Burnett found Harry Brazel in the box for his sides best chance to grab a goal, but he headed wide.
Andy Clarkson's side could have had a fourth when Riccardo Egidi took the ball around his man but keeper Adam Reid again did well to save his team.
The win for Gate moves Andy Clarkson's side upto 13th in the league. Gate are back on the road again next Saturday in a first meeting with Litherland Remyca.
Gate: Fletcher, Gray, Reader, Bamba, Sumner, Booth (C), Ing, Charnley, Boyd, Egidi, Seear. Subs: Rossall, Mullen, Salthouse, Clarkson.
Report by Mark Ashmore