Priorymen pegged back late on ahead of Monday's derby!
Guisborough Town warmed up for Easter Monday's derby at Marske United with a disappointing draw.
By Bill Perfitt
Guisborough Town Manager Steve Dowling was left scratching his head in deep disappointment and wondering how on earth his side ended up drawing their league match at Dunston UTS on Saturday.
After dominating key periods of the match but with only a solitary goal to show for their efforts, the Priorymen then fell to a classic late sucker punch as Dunston snatched a draw with an 89th minute equaliser.
A dejected Dowling said afterwards: “Disappointment is an understatement about how we feel about not winning this game by at least clear goals.
“We dominated the first half but only had one goal to show for our efforts and good play – an excellent one from Danny Earl.
“At half-time we spoke about being wary of a strong Dunston reaction and how they would pressure us - and although they did just that I felt we coped well with everything they threw at us.
“Then just as I thought we had seen the game out as the final whistle approached, a free header from Dunston in our box from a corner cost us very dear.
“Once again we had some good performances - Paul Roddam did well on his first start for a while and I went for Danny Earl as my Man of the Match but he was run close by Steve Snaith who was excellent once again,” added Dowling.
Despite ultimately dropping two points when three looked almost a certainty at one stage, Guisborough remain in third place behind leaders Shildon and second-placed Marske but once again other teams below them are gaining ground rapidly on them and a third place finish is now looking a difficult target.
Hoping to regain lost ground the Priorymen make the short journey to Marske for the annual Easter Monday derby.
For this eagerly-awaited clash midfielder Pete Bulmer will be available again but Jonathan Helm is struggling with a bad knee injury after an awful challenge on him yesterday.
Midfielder Chay Liddle is working and therefore unavailable and defender Jordan Galloway is also struggling with his knee but these problems apart Guisborough have virtually a full squad to choose from.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s game at Dunston started so positively for Guisborough, who looked like they were going to carry on where they left off from the excellent North Riding Senior Cup Semi-final victory against Marske in midweek.
In the 15th minute a Dan McWilliams free kick was glanced in off the head of Ste Snaith only for the assistant on the far side to raise his flag for off-side.
But just a minute later a through-ball to striker Danny Earl saw him evade the off-side trap and strike a low, powerfully-angled shot across goal and in off the post to give Guisborough a richly-deserved 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to kick-start Dunston into gear and a 20-yard strike from Michael Pearson rocketed just inches past the top left hand post with ‘keeper Nick Liversedge beaten at full-stretch.
The home side looked more confident after this and had plenty of the ball but they lacked real finishing power and it was Guisborough who could have increased their lead with some smart counter-attacking with Earl and Connor Smith going close. After the interval and with an hour gone Guisborough created their opening chance of the second half when Earl turned inside his opponent and got in a low shot only to be denied by the legs of Dunston ‘keeper Liam Connell with one of several good saves he made throughout the game.
Guisborough continued to raise their game with a Dan McWilliams’ 12-yard strike on 72 minutes deflecting on to the top of the bar and soon afterwards a Connor Smith shot from the edge of the penalty area flew narrowly over. At this point with about 10 minutes to go Dunston must have been wondering why Guisborough were not out of sight with three or four goals to the good.
But still training by only one goal and sensing they might get something out of the game they surged forward in search of an equaliser and it finally came in the 89th minute when from a corner the ball was hit towards the near post and Guisborough were punished dearly when Malcolm Morien ran in and headed the ball home from close range. With four minutes of added time given, Dunston pressed forward again and managed a couple of efforts at grabbing what would have been an unlikely winner.
For Guisborough, it was a case of two points dropped rather than one gained as they rued their earlier missed chances to kill the game off.
Ste Snaith was made Supporters’ Man of the Match with Danny Earl the Manager’s Man of the Match.
PICTURES FROM DUNSTON v GUISBOROUGH TOWN (KIND COURTESY OF YVONNE BARKER)