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A single goal saw Town depart this years competition

Guisborough Town's dream of a giant-killing FA Cup run came to a disappointing end when they were beaten 3-2 by Evo-Stik Premier League side Ashton United in their 1st Qualifying Round replay at the KGV Stadium on Wednesday.

Guisborough Manager Chris Hardy said a ‘lack of cutting’ edge, particularly in the second half, cost his side dear but he added that his players could be proud of their efforts over the two ties which had been ‘first class.’

After forcing a replay with a superb display at Ashton on Saturday, the Priorymen's hopes of completing a big cup upset were high - especially when Ashton went down to 10 men after striker Chris Baguley was red-carded a minute before half-time for kicking out at Guisborough's Gary Wood.

At that time Ashton led 2-1 with goals from Matthew Chadwick (11th minute) and a 20th minute penalty by Baguley after a Paul Roddam hand-ball in the area.  In between Guisborough striker Danny Earl had equalised with a tremendous 15th minute acute angled volley from 20 yards out. Then came one of the game's key flashpoints a minute before the interval when Baguley petulantly lashed out at Wood for apparently no reason in the centre-circle, sending the Guisborough defender sprawling and hurting his shoulder in the process.

But as often is the case, playing against 10 men after the interval seemed to hinder rather than assist the Priorymen and Ashton's packed nine-man defence frustrated Guisborough's attacks time after time.

And it was Ashton who increased their lead much against the run of the play in the 71st minute when substitute Martin Pilkington squeezed the ball home at the near post with Guisborough appealing in vain for offside.  The linesman on the right did raise his flag but he was over-ruled by the referee who allowed the goal to stand.

Three minutes from time Guisborough pulled a goal back when Luke Bythway shot home from the edge of the area, the ball going in off the post, but unfortunately it was too little too late.

Although Guisborough threw everything at the Ashton defence in the last few remaining minutes, the Manchester side held firm to cling on to a narrow 3-2 victory and Guisborough’s hopes of a memorable cup run were ended for another season. Guisborough’s normal fluent passing football broke down too often with stray passes and a physical but pacey Ashton side threw the Priorymen off their stride at times.

Ultimately Ashton made their higher league standing at two levels above Guisborough tell but it wasn’t for lack of trying that the Priorymen eventually succumbed. The fact that this relatively young Guisborough side wasn’t at all overawed by Ashton over the two games speaks volumes for the Priorymen and they will surely learn a lot from this experience. In fact several Ashton management officials heaped generous praise on Guisborough and described the Priorymen as the best footballing side they had come across this season.

The match attendance was 220 and Guisborough Manager Chris ‘Chardy’ Hardy made young central defender Andrew May his Man-of-the-match.

After the game Chardy commented:  “On reflection, this replay panned out very similar to the first encounter where very little between the two sides proved to be evident. 

“All things being considered, it always looked like the outcome would be determined by small margins and the main factors for me were that after a full second half camped in our opponents’ half, we were unable to provide the cutting-edge required against a very resolute Ashton backline.  On top of this there was some very frustrating officiating throughout the course of the evening in which big decisions seemed to not go our way. 

“That being said, as much as there may be an air of disappointment surrounding the final result, the efforts and application from our players proved to be first class over the two legs and this experience is something that will help develop the young players within the team,” added Chardy. 

It’s back to Northern League action for Guisborough on Saturday, 19 September with a trip over to Cumbrian side Penrith and Hardy has injury worries to Jon Helm and Gary Wood but returning to the squad will be Chay Liddle.  Liam McPhillips and Connor Smith are both unavailable.

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