Sunderland RCA 0-2 Guisborough Town
|Ebac Northern League Division 1
KO KO 29 45 45 50 65 72 74 84 FT
Guisborough Town rounded off a frustrating up-and-down season with a convincing and well-deserved 2-0 on Wearside on Saturday to consign Sunderland RCA to relegation to Division Two.
It was a tough and at times bruising encounter as RCA fought hard for their Division One lives but in the end it was a comfortable victory for the Priorymen and should have been by a much wider margin had they fully exploited the many chances they created.
After watching his side record their first win in their last six games, Guisborough Manager Steve Bell commented:
We saved our best performance in the last five weeks until the last game of the season!
I thought the lads were excellent today. We decided to go with defender James Frazer up front for his height and physicality and it certainly paid off. I’d been thinking of doing this for several weeks and to be honest I wish I’d have tried it sooner. RCA brought in some very good, experienced players and to be fair provided us with a very tough game.
We went in 1-0 to the good at half-time and I thought that slightly flattered us but in the second half although we deservedly scored a second our winning margin could and should have been much greater. But ultimately I was over the moon with a hard-fought 2-0 win.
Overall this season after a very positive start we ended up petering out a little. But we know what we need next season to improve and most of the lads have committed to stay. We need a few quality additions – and fingers crossed we will be able to push on positively in the new season.
So Guisborough finish the season in a very respectable ninth place after being in the top four or five during the earlier part of the season.
The Priorymen have been severely hampered by the loss of key players for lengthy periods like midfield captain JJ Bartliff, highly skilful winger Jack Blackford and big striker Jason Blackburn. Guisborough fans can only rue how things may have turned out with a full squad available for the majority of the season.
But it was a real tonic for Guisborough’s loyal and sizeable band of followers to see the season finally end on a high note at Sunderland. Following an end-to-end opening half hour Guisborough took the lead on 29 minutes with a lovely flowing move started down the right flank and scored after some fine work by left back Liam Miller on the opposite flank.
Right back Ollie Cann crossed from the right, striker Mikey McGee flicked it on the Miller who cut in from the left and found McGee with the perfect pass inside and the striker blasted home from about 10 yards out. Guisborough didn’t have it all their own way in the first 45 and goalkeeper Will Cowey had to be alert on more than one occasion to keep Sunderland at bay.
Only two minutes after the re-start Guisborough players, management and fans alike were scratching their heads as to why a penalty wasn’t awarded when McGee burst through, latching on a long ball over the top but the referee waved play on after McGee appeared to be brought down. And three minutes later McGee had to leave the field after getting injured in a heavy tackle, with Town’s leading scorer Cole Kiernan coming on.
There was a scare for Guisborough in the 55th minute when RCA got in behind the Town defence and went so close to an equaliser as a shot cannoned away of the post.
In the 72nd minute the Guisborough ‘keeper Will Cowey as he saved well as RCA pressed forward in search of an equaliser and he produced an even better saw a minute from time when he made himself big to block a shot one-on-one.
After missing a procession of chances, Guisborough finally made their pressure tell a minute later when winger Jack Blackford weaved his magic down the left and put over a peach of a cross to Kiernan who scored probably the easiest goal of his season’s final tally of 24. It was a goal that finally condemned RCA to relegation in front of one a crowd of 240, easily their biggest of the season, swelled significantly by Guisborough’s faithful followers.
Report: Bill Perfitt
Photos: Dan Clark
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|Sunderland LGV Park
|Meadow Park, Beechbrooke, Ryhope. Sunderland SR2 0NZ