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FT Ashton United 0, Guisborough Town 0 FAC 1st Qual. Round - Game Replayed at KGV, Wed 16 Sept 7.45pm

Every single Guisborough Town player was a hero as they battled valiantly to force a fully deserved replay at Evo-Stik Premier League side Ashton United on Saturday after an epic 0-0 draw.

Gallant Guisborough gave every bit as good as they got and could even have snatched victory outright at the first attempt with a little more luck against a side two rungs above them in the non-league ‘ladder’ set-up. As it was a draw was probably a fair result overall after a fiercely-contested encounter, with chances galore at either end and Ashton going closest when they hit the post.

Guisborough have now given themselves a great chance to progress to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a home replay against Ashton at the KGV Stadium this coming Wednesday, kick-off 7.45 pm as usual. Fans are urged to get there early to avoid delays at the turnstiles to cope with what is expected to be a sizeable crowd.

Guisborough Manager Chris ‘Chardy’ Hardy was delighted with the final result and especially at the way his brave team played against red hot favourites Ashton United and commented: “On reflection, today's result was one we just about deserved, after a massive effort from the boys against a side who at times showed their quality.

“We dug in and ground out a replay at our place on Wednesday night and I’m hopeful that getting another bite of the cherry Wednesday will be a distinct advantage to ourselves as we look to progress to the next round of the FA Cup Qualifiers.”

In the match itself, Guisborough started confidently and were soon into their usual passing style while the home team were a little slow to get going. But get going they certainly did and the pattern of the match was established – a hotly but fairly contested game of attack and counter attack against two determined defences.  

It fell to Ashton to have the first real chance of a goal in the 16th minute when a defensive slip-up left a trio of of players bearing down on the Priorymen's goal. Baguley looked certain to score as he shot low and hard to the left corner of the goal but with a dive at full stretch Nick Liversedge pushed the ball wide of the post and he then managed to dive again to prevent the corner.

Guisborough responded with a fine interchange of passes down the left flank but the Ashton keeper managed to intercept the cross before Danny Earl could reach it. The end-to-end attacking continued and in the 38th minute of this highly competitive contest Curtis Round came close with a long range shot going just over the bar.  A few minutes later Jon Helm moved the ball he ball wide to Danny Earl who saw his shot beaten away by the Robins ‘keeper.

And so it continued until the referee whistled for the end of an entertaining half of traditional FA Cup football. As the teams left the field several of the home fans complimented the Priorymen on their play, saying they didn't look out of their depth playing against a team two levels above them and they were very much a match for Ashton.

When the game resumed after the interval it soon picked up where it left off and in the 55th minute Guisborough had their best chance to take the lead. A fine move through midfield saw Chay Liddle feed the ball through for Danny Earl to chase to the byline, turn cleverly and set up a cross for his strike partner Connor Smith whose firm header was well saved by the Ashton ‘keeper at the foot of the near post.

A minute later and Peter Bulmer crossed from the right for Smith to hit a volley that went the wrong side of the post. This only spurred Ashton into action and a good move resulted in another opportunity for Baguley to break the deadlock but Nick Liversedge was on hand to thwart the home side with another incredible low save.

Both sides realised that one goal would be enough to settle the match and the battle for dominance became concentrated in midfield. Gradually the Robins exerted more pressure and came close to scoring on three occasions but a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork and - who else but the brilliant Nick Liversedge - denied them any reward.

Nevedrtheless, Guisborough are made of stern stuff these days and litle by little they battled their way back into contention and between those earlier Ashton chances they carved out good opportunties for themselves. And the Priorymen almost took the lead when Steve Snaith's pass found Curtis Round whose first time shot looked goal bound but the Ashton keeper turned it over the bar.

As the game reached the final ten minutes it was Guisborough who had the upper hand with a succession of attacks but somehow the Ashton defence prevailed – but not without a little good fortune.

Finally the referee blew the whistle to conclude an entertaining and exciting game which was a credit to both sides.

So it's all to be fought for on another day – and that day is on Wednesday night at the KGV.  Don't miss it – be there, it is the FA Cup after all!


Missing for Guisborough will be midfielder Chay Liddle (midweek work commitments) but returning to the squad will be Liam McPhillips and Luke Bythway.  However, there are doubts over midfielders Jon Helm and Curtis Round who picked up injuries at Ashton.

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