Guisborough Town 0-0 Whitley Bay
|Ebac Northern League Division 1
KO KO 58 63 71 75 83 FT
Guisborough Town were held in a goalless stalemate against Whitley Bay in a hard-fought encounter at the KGV on Saturday. It was a frustrating afternoon for the Priorymen as they could find no way past the visitors.
The first 15 minutes of the match were lacking action, as both teams cancelled each other out in an attritional midfield battle. However, Bay showed signs of an attacking threat with their pace up front and occasionally stretched the Guisborough backline, but without ever testing home ‘keeper Will Cowey.
Looking to break the deadlock, Bay imposed some pressure on Town, forcing them to clear after a penalty box scramble just four minutes before the break. On the stroke of half-time, Guisborough’s Liam Miller rounded the Bay ‘keeper but the angle was too tight for a shot and his cross into the box was thumped away by another Bay player.
At half-time, the assessment of most fans was that it was a half lacking in quality and that there were lacklustre aspects to both teams’ play. Players and fans hoped for more action and intensity in the second half.
Town responded positively and immediately after the re-start, Guisborough striker Michael McGee had a one on one with Pat Nash that was well saved by the 18-year-old visiting ‘keeper. The combined age of 35 between Nash and Cowey, the Guisborough stopper, must have been one of the lowest joint ages of goalkeepers in a match this season!
Just one minute after the McGee chance, Liam Miller crafted an opportunity on the left wing, firing a shot from a tight angle that forced Nash to pull off another important save. There was a real shift in intensity and pace from Guisborough.
Town continued their pressure on the Bay goal. Ten minutes into the half, Jack Blackford beat his man, jinked his way inside and unleashed a 25-yard rocket that cannoned against the bar. It was so close to what would have been a goal of the season contender.
With a third of the game left to play, Town made their first substitution of the match as leading scorer Cole Kiernan came on for Miller.
Town maintained their pressure as they searched for an elusive first goal. Expecting a cross into the box, Bay were caught off guard by a clever Mohammed free kick worked to the feet of Tommy Marron, whose first time shot was parried by Nash. Town had the away side on the back foot.
With 12 minutes left to play, McGee rounded the ‘keeper, but could not find enough space for a shot. He crossed into the middle only for a Bay player to get there before Kiernan, thumping it away to safety. Despite the efforts of both teams, this proved to be the last opportunity of the match. The Priorymen had to settle for a point. On the balance of play, Guisborough edged it overall, and will believe that they could have got the victory, especially if Blackford’s thunderbolt had not been thwarted by the bar!
The match ball was kindly sponsored by the East Stand Over-80 Supporters, whose ongoing support is greatly appreciated by Guisborough Town.
Post-match, Guisborough manager Steve Bell reflected on what was, in his view, a missed opportunity for three points:
Both teams started the game poorly. The first half was one of the ‘nicest’ games of football you could see. I was furious at half-time about the performance. We lacked energy, any desire to win any game of football and we completely wasted 45 minutes of a game.
I let the players know my thoughts at half-time and, to give credit to them, they came out a different team. I’m not saying that we were brilliant in the second half but I felt we just shaded the game and deserved to win.
I told the players after the match that our standard was seven out of ten and we need to improve. The next level for us is to win those types of games.
Guisborough’s next match is on Wednesday, 22nd March (KO 7:45pm) when they entertain Pickering Town, as the Priorymen look to do the double over the Pikes after an impressive victory earlier on in the season. Town also play at home next Saturday, 25th March (KO 3:00pm) against local rivals Redcar Athletic.
Report: James Cowan
Photos: Dan Clark
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|King George V Stadium
|King George V Stadium Howlbeck Road, Guisborough TS14 6LE