Northallerton Town 2-1 Guisborough Town
|Ebac Northern League Division 1
KO KO 13 33 58 60 60 72 74 80 86 86 FT
The trials and tribulations of a hugely frustrating season for Guisborough Town were all encapsulated in their disappointing defeat at North Yorkshire rivals Northallerton Town on Good Friday.
Once again, the Priorymen were without key players like long-term injury absentees in skipper JJ Bartliff and big striker Jason Blackburn, while stand-in captain and ‘Mr Consistency’ Nick Hood was away on holiday.
As in many games over the season, Guisborough got off to a great start with a fifth minute lead but failed to maintain the early momentum. And what could have been a welcome victory failed to materialise as Northallerton hit back with two goals to overturn the Priorymen’s early lead and
eventually record a narrow 2-1 victory.
A somewhat non-plussed Guisborough Manager Steve Bell confessed after the game that it was difficult to put his finger on the real reason behind his side letting another game slip through their fingers.
He commented: “Overall, I thought it was a poor game today with both sides lacking real quality at times, I felt.
“I’m in two schools of thought on our performance today. I can either say the reason why we were so poor because of all the players we had missing with some either injured, poorly or away.
“On the other hand, I could the reason was just a lack of desire and a weak mentality. I’m still weighing up the pros and cons but I’m probably somewhere in the middle. What I am sure about though is that we can’t allow this season to just peter out.
“I’d like to give a special mention today to young Alfie Best, who I gave a full debut to for this game and he ended up being our Man of the Match. Some of our more experienced players should take a look at Alfie’s performance and then maybe take a good look at themselves,” concluded
The match started off so encouragingly well for the Priorymen when they swarmed all over the Northallerton defence right from the whistle and it was no surprise when they stormed ahead after only five minutes.
TOOK A DEFLECTION
A shot by Guisborough’s midfield general Shabs Mohammed took a deflection and fell kindly to Shabs’ midfield partner Jordan Fielding who made no mistake shooting home firmly into the back of the Northallerton net for his second goal in two successive games.
Despite this early boost, however, Guisborough’s lead lasted only eight minutes as Northallerton hit back to score a rather fortunate goal as Daniel Jones managed to deflect a shot that Guisborough ‘keeper Will Cowey appeared to have covered just inside the left hand post for 1-1.
Just a minute earlier, Cowey – celebrating his 18th birthday – pulled off a super save turning a goal-bound shot behind for a corner. Such has been the growing maturity shown by Cowey throughout the season that it is hard to believe he wasn’t officially an adult until today!
Despite the disappointment of surrendering their early lead, Guisborough made the majority of the running for the rest of the first half with good play from Lewis Green and Liam Miller combining well only for a promising move to end with a Northallerton block.
Guisborough central defender James Frazer was also prominent in attack on two occasions testing the Northallerton ‘keeper with a header and a shot in the 33rd and 39th minutes respectively. Just before half-time Alfie Best capped a fine first half display putting Olly Cann through for a cross to striker and former Middlesbrough Academy player Ty O’Neill – also making his full debut – to get in a good turn and shot only to see it blocked.
After early Guisborough pressure in the second half with Frazer and O’Neill both going close, Northallerton served a warning to the Priorymen when they hit the post on 57 minutes when a first-time Stephenson shot struck the Guisborough upright and bounced clear.
But just one minute after that lucky escape Guisborough fell 2-1 behind with a simple but highly effective move as Charlie Watt dribbled his way to the by-line and put over an excellent low cross which evaded everyone except Northallerton striker Luke Hogan who tucked the ball home from close in at the far post.
On the hour Guisborough brought on winger Jack Blackford and striker Mikey McGee for Best and O’Neill and Blackford, back from injury, instantly demonstrated his speed and trickery on the ball with some excellent runs but to no avail.
Guisborough rallied towards the end of the game and in the 88th minute were desperately unlucky not to draw level when Fielding and McGee surged forward and combined well but McGee saw his slightly deflected shot bounced back off the Northallerton bar.
Report: Bill Perfitt
Match overview by James Cowan
Northallerton Town edged out Guisborough Town in a spirited, fighting performance at the Calvert’s Stadium on Good Friday. The match lacked a consistent pattern of play and neither team had a sustained spell of pressure across the match.
Northallerton battled from the outset as they looked to secure their place in Northern League Division One next season. Unfortunately, the Priorymen had multiple key absences from their starting 11. Hood, Bailey, Bartliff and Marron were all missing, and Blackford and McGee started on the bench as they recovered from recent injury and illness.
This was an exceptionally young Guisborough side. The starting 11 had an average age of 22 years and three of the defence – goalkeeper Will Cowey and outfield players Alfie Best and Ollie Cann – are all in their teens. Making his first Guisborough start, Best looked assured and composed on the right hand side. He was energetic and effectively linked up between defence and attack.
Although Town were rewarded after their early pressure through a Jordan Fielding goal in the fifth minute, the home side scored in each half to seal victory. After the second half introduction of Blackford and McGee, Guisborough looked more threatening as they searched for an equaliser. A late surge from the Priorymen nearly earned them a point, as McGee’s shot was deflected onto the bar just five minutes before time.
On a frustrating afternoon for the Priorymen, most fans agreed that a draw would have been a fairer result, but the home side’s fighting mentality earned them all three points. It was a day where the ball was out of play regularly and there were lots of stoppages, further frustrating the Priorymen. In a highly competitive North Yorkshire derby, the atmosphere was lively and raucous as Northallerton picked up three crucial points in their fight against relegation.
Photos: Dan Clark
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|Calvert Stadium, Ainderby Road, Romanby, North Yorkshire, England, DL7 8HG, United Kingdom