Guisborough Town 2-4 Bishop Auckland
|Ebac Northern League Division 1
KO KO 10 35 37 45 46 62 63 67 72 78 86 88 90 FT
On the face of it, losing at home with a 4-2 scoreline looks like a comprehensive defeat – but it does no justice whatsoever to a Guisborough Town side who had battled bravely to draw level at 2-2 on the hour mark only for a controversial refereeing decision to undo all their good work five minutes from full time.
For the majority of the game, the Priorymen had more than matched the league leaders Bishop Auckland in an uncompromisingly tough but thoroughly exciting and entertaining match. Guisborough had surged ahead after only 10 minutes with a well-taken goal by winger Ben Jackson who slotted home superbly following a smart one-two with skipper JJ Bartliff.
Bishops, managed by former Guisborough Manager Chris Hardy, rallied strongly after that early reverse but found home goalkeeper Robert Dean in great form, particularly on 32 minutes when he pulled off an unbelievable save to preserve his side’s 1-0 lead. However, Bishop’s then turned the game on its head within a two-minute period as half-time loomed.
Firstly, they equalised on 35 minutes when former Guisborough striker Louis Johnson chased a long through-ball before cleverly cutting inside and crossing to Marcus Giles who scored which a side-footed shot that went in off the underside of the Guisborough bar. Then just two minutes after that Bishops went 2-1 up when Wayne Whitfield found the far corner of the Guisborough net with a lovely curling shot from just outside the home penalty area.
Two minutes before half-time Guisborough ‘keeper Dean made a brilliant save with his legs from a blistering shot by Bishops striker Craig Gott.
It was tough on the Priorymen to go in 2-1 behind at the break but after the interval they were indebted to ‘keeper Dean yet again as he made two more outstanding saves on 47 and 51 minutes to prevent Bishops from going further ahead. Guisborough hit back with skipper Bartliff shooting narrowly past the post after turning smartly on the edge of the Bishops’ box.
Then Joe Scaife-Wheatley went close for Guisborough with a long-range strike in the 58th minute before a minute later Dean once more came to his side’s rescue with a fantastic save.
On the hour mark Guisborough deservedly drew level at 2-2 when substitute Shabs Mohammed did well to earn a free kick on the edge of the Bishop’s box and Shabs himself took the free kick and smashed the ball home with awesome power which hit the back of the Bishops’ net in the blink of an eye.
The goal spurred Guisborough on superbly and in the 68th minute defender Nick Hood – who two minutes earlier had made a brilliant block to save a certain Bishops goal – went up front for a Guisborough corner but agonisingly saw his fine header strike the Bishops post.
Guisborough substitute Cole Kiernan pounced on the rebound but Bishops’ former Guisborough goalkeeper Nick Liversedge saved well. In the 82nd minute Guisborough went close again to taking a 3-2 lead when substitute Callum Martin made a great run down the right and crossed into the middle but Kiernan was unlucky to see his header go wide.
Three minutes later on 85 minutes came a pivotal moment which ultimately tipped the balance in Bishop’s favour when referee Evan Culling very harshly awarded the visitors a penalty that looked extremely ‘soft’ as Johnson went down cheaply under a challenge. Gott scored from the resultant penalty to make it 3-2 to Bishop Auckland.
Then to add insult to injury the Bishops scored a fourth goal a minute later when Guisborough ‘keeper Dean failed to connect with a long Bishops ball out of defence and Johnson ran on unchallenged to score into an empty net to give his side a decidedly flattering 4-2 victory. It was very tough on the Priorymen who had given absolutely everything over the 90 minutes only for all their good work to unravel in that crazy last five minutes.
After the game Guisborough Manager Steve Bell was full of praise for his side, commenting.
My players gave their all tonight and for a 20 minute spell after we equalised at 2-2 on the hour mark we looked like we were going to go on and deservedly win the game. Then, we were firstly incredibly unlucky when Nick Hood’s header hit the post in the 68th minute and secondly we suffered from what I thought was a poor refereeing decision when Bishops were awarded a penalty when one of their strikers went over cheaply following a legitimate challenge by one of our players.
Still, that’s how football can punish you when you least deserve it so now we need to dust ourselves down and regroup for Saturday’s visit to Seaham Red Star.
Report: Bill Perfitt
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|King George V Stadium
|King George V Stadium Howlbeck Road, Guisborough TS14 6LE