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In Northern League Division One, Guisborough returned to winning ways after a difficult two weeks with a flawless win on Saturday.

By Bill Perfitt

Guisborough Town climbed five places up the Northern League table to eighth spot with a highly impressive – almost perfect in fact – away victory at Ashington. There was a plethora of positives for the Priorymen to take away from Northumberland as they completed an ultimately emphatic win.

And Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling was barely able to contain his delight at his team’s tremendous performance afterwards when he commented: “This was a very good team performance today.

“We totally dominated the first half and on the balance of play we should have scored few more than just Paul Blake’s goal.

“In the second half Ashington came back into the game and got a deserved equaliser from a penalty after an accidental foul by full back Steve Roberts.

“But superb goals for Thibault Charmey and Matty Pennal gave us the victory that I thought we thoroughly deserved.

“Overall, there were good performances throughout the whole team, especially from young full backs Steve Roberts and Joe Ferguson.

“We were excellent both defensively and going forwards with our central defensive pairing of Liam McPhillips and Leon Carling both enjoying fine games and our midfield trio of Gary Wood, Paul Blake and Tom Bligh on top form.

“Our front three of Pete Bulmer, Matty Pennal and ‘T’ caused Ashington all sorts of problems throughout the game with their pace, movement and intelligent play and for me T was the pick today to warrant my Man of the Match award. In addition, underpinning the overall fine team performance was an excellent display in goal from Mike Thackeray, who was particularly good on crosses," added a delighted Dowling. On a beautiful, warm sunny day the match kicked off in front of Ashington’s superb new stand. Guisborough soon stamped their authority on the game and left back Joe Ferguson went close after only two minutes when Gary Wood set him up but Ferguson’s shot was parried away by Ashington keeper Grant Conor.

The home side, managed by former England international cricketer Steve Harmison, responded two minutes later with a smart move involving exGuisborough striker Damien Stevens who put through Scott Gunn but his deflected shot produced a great save from Guisborough goalkeeper Mike Thackeray.

The match continued end-to-end with lots of goalmouth incidents, with Guisborough the dominant team and within two minutes Thibault Charmey had two good chances but one shot went over the bar and the other wide on nine and 11 minutes.

On 21 minutes midfielder Paul Blake tried his luck from long range but his piledriver of a shot rose three yards over the bar.

Ten minutes later Pete Bulmer went close with a free kick from 20 yards but in the 36th minute Guisborough finally made their dominance pay when a great Bulmer shot was brilliantly saved buy Conor but the rebound went to Blake who swept the ball home superbly.

In the second half Guisborough continued to make the running and centre back and skipper Leon Carling found time to join the constant stream of attacks and he hit a great angled shot from 12 yards against the post after Conor had done well to parry away a brilliant overhead kick by the ever-dangerous Pennal.

In the 55th minute a great Guisborough move involving Charmey and Bulmer, who executed a sublime ‘dummy’ through his leg to put the Frenchman through but his clever curling shot from 15 yards went agonisingly wide.

At the other end the impressive Ashington winger Gunn turned and got in a good snap shot in the 59th minute but Thackeray did well to parry the ball away for a corner.

In the 70th minute Ashington equalised against the general run of play when Town full back Steve Roberts accidentally brought Kyle Downey in the penalty area and Downey took the kick himself and gave Thackeray no chance with a precision spot kick right into the corner to level things at 1-1.

Undeterred, Guisborough swept forward again, with some great flowing, passing movements which had been a feature of their play all game and in the 75th minute left back Ferguson capped a fine game with a superb cross from the left which found Charmey whose bullet-like header flew into the roof of the net to restore Town’s lead at 2-1.

And six minutes from time Pennal scored a richly-deserved goal to make the game safe for the Priorymen when he and Charmey combined superbly, enabling Pennal to break clean through and he coolly swept the ball home for 3-1.

Guisborough Town: Thackeray, Roberts (sub Adam Cocks 73 mins), Ferguson, Carling (capt), McPhillips, Wood, Blade (sub Farrington 88 mins), Bligh, Pennal, Charmey, Bulmer (sub Khalid 89 mins).

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