Despite a much-improved display, it was the same old story for Parkgate as they went down to their second loss to Athersley Recreation in the space of a week.
Parkgate, who were on the wrong end of a 4-1 beating last Saturday, lost by a single goal this time out, as Lee Bennett’s first-half strike settled the contest.
The Steelmen looked to apply the early pressure, and debutant Andy Wood had an early shot which tested Athersley goalkeeper Shaun Penn.
Penn was further troubled by the resulting corner but Athersley cleared and, from the resulting swift counter-attack, Mark Hyde put the ball in the Parkgate net. The celebrations were curtailed, however, by the assistant referee’s flag.
Another Parkgate debutant, goalkeeper David Reay, was then forced into making a fine fingertip save from Kieran Scargill.
But Reay was powerless to prevent Athersley taking the lead on 23 minutes.
Former Parkgate striker Matt Outram lobbed the ball over the top of the Parkgate defence and when Reay came out to meet Bennett, the ball bounced off the goalkeeper and went into the net.
Parkgate battled back and went close to an equaliser on 36 minutes, when Niall Smith made a good run. His curling shot went just wide of the post, with Penn well beaten.
Bennett went close to adding his second in the second half, but his lob from outside the area went just over the top of the bar.
Wood again went close to getting on the scoresheet on his debut, but his shot flashed an inch wide of the post after being teed up by Tom Foltyn-Brown.
Ben Langford then made good progress down the right hand side, but there were no Parkgate players in the box to meet his inviting cross.
Reay had to be alert again to cut out Outram’s cross, and with fifteen minutes left Parkgate squandered their best chance yet to earn a share of the spoils.
Langford twisted and turned his marker in the area and got a shot away, but Penn was well positioned to save comfortably. Parkgate face Nostell Miners Welfare on Saturday (3pm) at Roundwood.
n Parkgate: Reay, Wragg, Smith, Cavanagh, Lowe, Wood, Dawson, Abdulla, Foltyn-Brown, Langford, Graham. Subs: Morley, Linacre, Whittington, Lowe.