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Guisborough Town suffered their first home league defeat of the season, at the hands of Bishop Auckland, in Northern League Division One, on Saturday.

By Bill Perfitt

Town put on an uncharacteristically indifferent performance as they lost 2-0 at home to a Bishop Auckland team eight places below them in the league.

The disappointing defeat – described by Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling as a rare “bad day at the office” - allowed the Bishops to complete a league double over the Priorymen.

And it ended Guisborough’s proud unbeaten home league record this season – prior to yesterday’s game the Priorymen were the only team in the entire EBAC Northern League Division One and Two not to have been beaten at home in the league campaign so far.

The Priorymen were extremely unlucky to lose 3-2 at Bishops due to a hotly disputed last-gasp penalty last October but on Saturday Guisborough looked a pale shadow of that brave, battling side of six months ago.

Whether it was the recent lack of games due to postponements which disrupted Guisborough’s usual fluent rhythm or just an isolated off-day - many of the KGV faithful in the crowd of 181 were left scratching their heads as to how their team looked a poor second best to the Bishops this time around.

During a forgettable first-half in which Guisborough mustered just one worthwhile shot on goal through Chay Liddle, the Bishops deservedly took the lead on 28 minutes. Centre forward Andy ‘AJ’ Johnson got in an arcing header which a back-peddling Nick Liversedge managed to tip on to the bar but Johnson tapped in the rebound unchallenged from almost on the goal-line.

Four minutes earlier the Bishops were unlucky when Liversedge saved absolutely superbly from Johnson and from the resulting corner Bishops hit the post to serve notice on Guisborough of their attacking intentions.

Guisborough were somewhat fortunate to reach half-time only one goal behind – their shape and general play looked disjointed and too many passes were going astray which constantly handed the attacking initiative back to the Bishops. Guisborough altered their formation for the second half and looked more cohesive - but without really looking like getting back on terms.

However, the introduction of substitute Pete Bulmer midway through the second half at last added some penetration and purpose to the Priorymen’s play. Bulmer was desperately unlucky not to get the equaliser on 77 minutes when he hit a rasping goal-bound shot but Bishops left back Hoganson somehow got his head in the way. Had that gone in, who knows it might have galvanised Guisborough into a great comeback.

Then three minutes later there was more panic in the Bishops defence when a Curt Round shot was blocked and the rebound went to Bulmer who this time blasted the ball high over the bar.

Any chance Guisborough had of salvaging a point from the game disappeared in the 89th minute when Chay Liddle mis-hit the ball straight into the path of Johnson who composed himself before hitting his second goal of the match beyond the reach of Liversedge to clinch the points and a 2-0 win for the Bishops.

Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling commented afterwards: “This was a disappointing result today in a game where the better side won.

“We never really got going until the last 20 minutes and maybe could have scored ourselves before Bishops sealed it in the 89th minute with their second goal.

“It's hard to be critical of my players who have generally performed well week in week out and were very disappointed themselves not to have played to the high standards they have set themselves.

As I’ve said often before, more than half of the first team squad are under the age of 24 and several are under 20, so you have to bear that in mind.

“As for yesterday’s performance, I can only put it down to a bad day at the office.

"I named Leon Carling our man of the match but he was closely followed by Nick Liversedge in goal for his particularly excellent first half performance,” added Dowling.

Match pictures courtesy of Yvonne Barker and Guisborough Town Football Club.


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