REPORT: Squires Gate 0-1 Congleton Town
Squires Gate suffered a first defeat of the season when the leagues form teams came to Blackpool on Saturday afternoon.
Congleton Town had won their first three games of the season, keeping clean sheets in all three games so faced a tough test for Gate.Like the visitors, Gate were in good from themselves winning two and draw their other opening game to start the season. Terry Green welcomed back Dan Gray back into the side with Gate's only change from last Saturday's FA Cup win. He came in in place of Jordan Salthouse who dropped to the bench, joined by new signings Ben Reader and Bradley Jones who were in line for their first starts from the bench.
Gate's first chance of the game came when Gary Pett intercepted a short goal kick from Congleton, but before Gate could capitalise, the move broke down and the visitors cleared the ball.
The opening exchanges saw the visitors on top as they looked to make it four wins from four games. They had claims for a penalty turned down after 12 minutes after a bright start.
Gate started to come into the game 15 minutes in and went close through Ryan Riley. He took aim from outside the box and looked to curl the ball into the top corner but just couldn't find the target.
Gary Pett was the next to take aim when he struck a freekick from just outside the box, unfortunately for Gate his strike was blocked by the wall.
Congleton had the chance to take the lead after 28 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Emini Adegbenro stepped up to take the spot kick but Gate keeper Ben Fletcher guessed the right way saving the penalty. He then reacted quickest to clear Dan Cope's shot from the rebound.
Gate themselves went close through Dan Gray who was inches away from scoring his first goal for the club. He burst into the box and took aim but saw his shot cannon off the crossbar, just inches from hitting the back of the net.
Gate ended the first half the stronger of the two sides and had a penalty of their own awarded two minutes before half time, Brett Dawson fouled at the back post from a corner gave the referee no choice but to award it. Gary Pett stepped up looking to add to his two goals he's already scored this season, but uncharacteristically, Pett fired the spot kick well over to keep the game level.
Half time: Squires Gate 0-0 Congleton Town
Gate took their improved performance into the second half and could have scored in the first minute. Joe Booth played the ball out to Ryan Riley who beat his man and squared the ball to Brett Dawson but a Congleton player nipped in and took the ball from Dawson before he could shoot.
Dean Ing then went close with a header from a corner three minutes later but he couldn't keep the ball down.
Gary Pett then came close with a golden chance on 57 minutes when he was sent through on goal one on one, he couldn't keep his composure though and fired over.
Gate again could have opened the scoring on 63 minutes but just couldn't find the target. Dan Gray drove a low ball into the box but Dean Ing just couldn't flick the ball on target.
Congleton eventually made the break through with the only goal of the game after 80 minutes. Ben Fletcher saving the first shot before John Main followed up to volley in the rebound.
Although Gate tried late into the game to salvage a draw, they just couldn't convert several chances. Even keeper Ben Fletcher came up in the last couple of minutes but his presence in the box was to no avail.
Gate are next in action on Tuesday night looking to get back to winning ways away at Ashton Athletic.
Gate: Fletcher, Richards, Rossall, Sumner, Gray, Charnley, Booth, Ing, Riley, Dawson, Pett. Subs: Mullen, Kay, Reader, Jones, Salthouse.
Report by Mark Ashmore