West Auckland Town 1 – 1 Guisborough Town
|Ebac Northern League Division 1
KO KO 9 20 31 31 43 66 67 71 83 FT
Guisborough Town earned themselves a good point at West Auckland Town on Saturday and rode their luck a little to prevent the home side from going on to win.
The Priorymen started the game very well and looked in good solid shape which West Auckland struggled to break down and it was no surprise when Guisborough took the lead after only nine minutes with a well-taken free kick by midfielder Shas Mohammed.
After losing 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the KGV back in October, Guisborough looked set for the perfect redemption as they proceeded to dominate the rest of the first half.
Ten minutes after his first goal Shabs fancied another and hit a brilliantly taken long strike which very nearly found its way into the top corner.
Then on the cusp of half time, Louis Johnson and Sam Webster combined nicely to produce a good effort on goal but the West Auckland keeper did well to keep the game at 0-1.
After the interval Guisborough continued look the stronger side early on as just four minutes into the half James Risbrough stung the gloves of the West keeper after a fantastic run all the way down the left side.
But for the rest of the second half there were very few chances for the Priorymen and the game was constantly being interrupted by the referee’s whistle. Shouts could be heard from both sets of fans as players from both sides were not allowed to bring much physicality into the game for fear of a card.
The loudest shouts though were from both sets of managers who felt their teams were getting harsh treatment from the officials – but although the game produced a total seven yellow cards there were no reds and all 22 players remained on the pitch.
Guisborough had cries for a penalty early in the match as it looked as though Louis Johnson had been fouled in the box, but the referee pointed to the edge of the 18-yard box. Up stepped midfield maestro Shabs Mohammed and just from his body language you felt this was going to be hit hard. And that is exactly what he did, straight into the bottom left corner for 1-0 to the Priorymen.
Three minutes later West Auckland broke clean through and it was only Guisborough keeper Robert Dean who prevented his side from losing their lead almost instantly. Not only did Dean manage to stop the initial strike with his legs but he also managed to get back to his feet to safely catch West’s second attempt.
In the 18th minute it looked as though Shabs was going to get his brace as he won the ball in the middle of the pitch and beat his man to get some space in before unloading another thunderous strike which flashed just past the top corner. Yet another attempt for the goal of the season from the midfielder!
It looked likely that Guisborough would have a second goal by half time as in the second minute of stoppage time Louis Johnson played a great ball through to Sam Webster who just couldn’t slide it home at the near post, forcing a rather comfortable save from the West Auckland keeper but nothing more.
When the second half started it looked as though manager Steve Bell had given his team an inspiring talk at half time as the Priorymen started it with some real intensity and pressure, almost scoring another just four minutes after the restart.
Guisborough left back James Risbrough won the ball in the Auckland half and ran all the way into the West box and forced a good save from the home keeper to deny the Priorymen a second goal.
From then on the play was constantly interrupted by the referee’s whistle and it became more and more difficult for both teams to play flowing in what was becoming a very physical game.
And alas in the 71st minute West Auckland found themselves through on goal and this time they got the equaliser through James Blinco.
It was a nervous final ten minutes as West Auckland seemed to really spring into life and it was only through some solid defending, a real team effort and just a hint of luck that the Priorymen kept the game at 1-1.
Overall, this looked like a fair and respectable scoreline for both sides considering the amount of times play had to be interrupted and it stretched Guisborough’s impressive mini unbeaten run to four games.
After the game, Guisborough Manager Steve Bell commented: “Once again I was very pleased with the lads’ performance.
“We were up against a very experienced West Auckland side who love all the ‘dark arts’ of the game.
“When this happens you need a strong referee but unfortunately for us this wasn’t the case. We went in 1-0 up at half-time but to be honest I wasn’t overly pleased about how we’d played.
“But I thought we controlled the second half a little better and missed a great open goal opportunity to go 2-0 up which would have won us the game.
“To be fair to them, they pressed on and got their equaliser and overall a draw was probably a fair result,” added Steve.
Report: Bill Perfitt
|West Auckland, County Durham, North East, England, DL14 9HU, United Kingdom