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Guisborough Town overcame the considerable handicap of being down to 10 men for the whole of the second half to take a point

Despite some relief at salvaging a draw in difficult circumstances, Guisborough Manager Chris Hardy felt his side had serious lessons to learn from the match in terms of discipline and lapses in concentration (please see his full comments later in the release).

Playing Penrith for the second Saturday running, Guisborough looked all set to complete a ‘back-to-back’ league double over the Cumbrians when the impressive Curtis Round scored a truly memorable goal after just 18 minutes. 

In a surging Guisborough attack, the ball bobbled out to Round waiting to pounce about 10 yards out on the left. The highly promising young midfielder waited for the ball to drop and hit a sublime looping volley from a quite oblique angle and the ball arced beautifully over Penrith ‘keeper Josh Richardson and into the net.

It was such a superb strike that had this been a Premier League match then Round’s peach of a goal would surely have been a very strong contender for ‘Goal of the Month.’

The first half continued to flow in entertaining fashion from end to end after Round’s opener, with Guisborough playing some of their trademark delightful passing football and forcing several corners, but they failed to capitalise and add to their lead.

When Penrith attacked they found the Guisborough defence – right across the back four line – in resolute form, personified perfectly when Andrew May preserved his side’s lead with a great blocking tackle in the 32nd minute. In the 35th minute, Guisborough’s tigerish midfielder Steve Snaith was booked for a very robust tackle on Penrith defender Steve Logan.  It was a typical full-blooded Snaith challenge and a yellow card was a fitting punishment.

However, 10 minutes later just before the interval, Snaith was shown a second yellow card for what seemed another challenge which left the KGV faithful wondering why referee David Fitzpatrick didn’t exercise a little common sense to give Snaith a ticking off instead of reaching for a second yellow card.

Three minutes before that ultimately match-changing sending-off, Penrith had missed a golden opportunity to get on level terms when visiting centre-forward Martin Coleman went to ground in the penalty area after being tackled by Guisborough centre half Leon Carling - who was very harshly adjudged to committed a foul.b Up stepped Penrith centre-half Jordan Little to take the penalty but his spot kick hit the outside of the post and bounced harmlessly for a dead ball kick.

The penalty miss meant Guisborough went into the half-time interval still a goal to the good - but knowing that they would have to play the entire second half a man down following the unfortunate dismissal of Snaith.

After the interval Penrith pressed Guisborough hard but the Priorymen held firm and overall - despite the numerical disadvantage - the home side were more than holding their own and even finding time to launch their own counter-attacks which tested the visitor’s defence on several occasions.

Chay Liddle in particular seemed to revel in the extra responsibility on his shoulders in the light of the absence of his midfield partner Snaith and got through a tremendous amount of excellent work. 

And he wasn’t the only one as to a man Guisborough fought tenaciously and actually stretched Penrith on occasions with some excellent passing, possession football.

Guisborough were doing so well containing Penrith that if you’d been a spectator arriving late at the start of the second half, you could have been forgiven for not noticing that it was 10 v 11 out on the pitch.

But in the 67th minute the Guisborough defence was finally breached when Penrith’s big and impressive centre forward Coleman turned May and advanced on goal before unleashing a very accurate hard and low shot into the far corner, giving Guisborough ‘keeper Nick Liversedge no chance to save.

With a third of the game still to play, Penrith failed to make their numerical advantage count and that was testament to the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Priorymen, who were rarely troubled again in their own penalty area.

Despite dropping the two points, Guisborough remained in fourth position in the league, just above arch rivals Marske United on goal difference.

Although a point under the circumstances of being a man down for half the match was probably a reasonable outcome for Guisborough, it was also frustrating in the light of them having comfortably beaten Penrith 3-1 the previous weekend, which must have left the Priorymen confident of completin a league double over the Cumbrians.

Guisborough Manager Chris ‘Chardy’ Hardy made Town left back Danny McWilliams his Man-of-the-Match – a worthy choice after yet another near faultless display by the defender, but Liddle must have run him very close for the MoM accolade.

After the game, Chardy commented:  “The first half saw us produce some expansive, easy on the eye possession football but unfortunately a number of unforced errors on our behalf seemed to be evident throughout the first 45 minutes.

“Then the stroke of half-time losing Snaith for a double yellow meant we knew we were in for a very challenging second half.  I believed a change to our formation would give us the platform to go on and win the game even with our numerical disadvantage. But this, however, didn't prove to be the case with Penrith imposing their own sustained pressure throughout the second45 which eventually got them back on level terms. 

“On reflection, we have lessons to be learnt from today from a discipline point of view and a general concentration and care about our play.  Taking a share of the points was I thought a fair reflection of the 90 minutes as neither side did enough to drive home their case to take maximum points,” added Chardy.

Guisborough’s next match is in the league at Ashington tonight (29th) and the Priorymen will definitely be without Chay Liddle who is unavailable but on the plus side returning to the squad are Jon Helm and Robbie Bettson.

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