Guisborough Town Manager Steve Bell was full of praise for his new squad after a brilliant weekend’s festival of football at Redcar Town – which he hailed as an all-round positive experience for his freshly-assembled group of players.
After seeing his side put up a determined display before being edged out 2-0 against arch derby rivals Marske United in a keenly contested final, he commented.
Overall the weekend of football produced many definite positives for us.
I’m absolutely delighted that a Guisborough team that is virtually brand new very quickly adapted and worked out just how we want to play going forward.
I think we have made some brilliant signings in the past week or so which always helps with team morale and building up some real momentum to establish a really good platform heading towards our first league match at home to old rivals Bishop Auckland next Saturday, 31 July.Steve Bell
The new-look Guisborough squad – almost unrecognisable from last season – produced some superb football to reach the inaugural final of the Mo Mowlam Memorial Trophy at Redcar Town’s ground on Sunday, despite ultimately losing 2-0.
The previous day Guisborough had stormed through their semi-final clash with hosts Redcar Town with an impressive 4-0 victory – although the Priorymen didn’t have it all their own way against opponents who will play one step below them in the Northern League Division Two this coming season.
The Guisborough goal suffered several scares in the first 20 minutes during which Redcar Town were unlucky not to score on several occasions with new Guisborough goalkeeper Rob Dean making some excellent saves to keep the home side at bay.
But Guisborough got their noses in front with a beautifully-worked goal in the 32nd minute brilliantly fashioned by new midfielder Brad Plant and coolly finished off by a trialist player.
Two minutes later Plant was again the creator when he sent the impressive Ben Jackson clear and he slotted home via the far post to make it 2-0 to the Priorymen.
Then in the 38th minute the livewire Jackson became goal provider as he found newly-signed Guisborough striker Louis Johnson who capped an excellent display by tapping home from close range.
In the second half Redcar Town to their credit kept plugging away and not for the first time Guisborough had to thank their ‘keeper Dean for preserving their three-goal cushion.
After weathering sustained Redcar pressure Guisborough made it 4-0 in the 75th minute when Plant crowned an excellent all-round display by slotting home past the onrushing Redcar goalkeeper.
Later on Saturday afternoon Marske faced Redcar Athletic in the other semi-final and stormed through by 5-0 to set up the final face-off against old arch rivals Guisborough on Sunday.
Guisborough had to make several enforced changes due to player unavailability but they almost made a sensational start after only three minutes when a great shot from Layton Watts thudded against the Marske bar. What a let-off for the Seasiders!
And it was the Marske woodwork which again denied the Priorymen in the 21s minute when the lively Ben Jackson darted through the Marske defence but his shot hit agonisingly struck the post.
In between those near misses Guisborough had to absorb some sustained Marske pressure with Guisborough ‘keeper Rob Dean again making some good saves, most notably in the 20th minute when he leapt high to tip a 25 yard Butterworth pile-driver over the bar.
Despite weathering some sustained Marske pressure, just when it looked like the Priorymen were going to get to half-time all square, Marske took the lead in the 35th minute when a mazy Dicicco run helped put Connor Smith clear to fire home for 1-0 to the Seasiders.
In the 41st mute Louis Johnson squandered a wonderful opportunity when he raced clear and facing a one-on-one with former Guisborough goalkeeper Ryan Catterick the hard-working Guisborough striker shot frustratingly wide when it looked like he was odds-on to equalise.
In the second half Guisborough struggled to make any real inroads into the Marske defence apart from some dangerous raids down the left flank and it was Marske who made things more comfortable for themselves in the 63rd minute when Hopson doubled his side’s lead to 2-0 by latching on to a short corner and cutting in unchallenged to lash the ball home from 18 yards.
This inaugural tournament to remember one of Redcar’s finest-ever MPs, the incomparable Mo Mowlam, proved a huge success over the two days it was played and host club Redcar Town and their officials deserve the highest praise possible for hosting the event with real warmth, friendliness and professionalism.