North Shields 1 - Guisbrough Town 0
Guisborough failed to complete an early league ‘double’ at FA Vase holders North Shields
The defeat meant the Priorymen slipped from third to fourth in the table, but one consolation was that with leaders Shildon losing at home to Consett and local rivals Marske dropping points at home to Dunston, Guisborough didn’t lose as much ground in the title race as they might have feared.
Guisborough Manager Chris Hardy conceded afterwards that his side didn’t deserve to win the match - but he also felt his hard-working team were unfortunate to finish on the losing side and somewhat unlucky not to come away with a point.
He commented: “On reflection, I believe that the lack of goalscoring opportunities created by ourselves doesn’t give me enough confidence to be able to say that we deserved to win this fixture.
“That being said, I thought we controlled the majority of the game with patient and structured build-up play and for this reason I don’t believe we deserved to be on the losing end of a very competitive and evenly-matched encounter,”
After a tight but goalless tussle in the first half, North Shields’ winning goal came in the 53rd minute when Dean Holmes linked well in a simple but efffective one-two with Gaz Bainbridge and gave Guisborough ‘keeper Nick Liversedge no chance with a close-range shot.
Almost immediately afterwards Guisborough carved out their best chance of the game and came within inches of equalising when Curt Round’s shot was blocked right on the line by a diving Curtis Coppen, the ball literally hitting him in the midriff with Guisborough fans and players appealing in vain for a penalty. Round was often a threat and also came close on several other occasions with long-range shots going either just too high or narrowly wide.
Despite some good, controlled midfield passing and possession throughout the game, Guisborough seemed to lack their usual cutting edge in the final third and this led to a lack of good goal-scoring opportunities which ultimately proved the Priorymen’s downfall.
And it was North Shields who came closest to scoring again in the 78th minute when Bainbridge hit the bar with a long range shot and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble a goal-bound Ryan McCorrigan header was headed clear by Guisborough centre back Andrew May and Dean Holmes fired wide from the loose ball.
Guisborough left back Danny McWilliams was made Man-of-the-Match by his manager after another excellent game in both defence and attack. He must have been run close for the accolade by midfielders Chay Liddle and Steve Snaith and winger Curtis Round, who all played well.
The Guisborough back line and Nick Liversedge coped well most the time and themselves restricted the lively North Shields attack to relatively few opportunities. Up front leading scorer Danny Earl suffered from a lack of quality service and as a consequence had very few chances.
Meanwhile, Guisborough have a great chance to get back to winning ways in midweek when they travel to local neighbours Norton & Stockton Ancients on Wednesday, 7 October and then on Saturday, 10 October they are at home to Sunderland RCA, who they have already beaten this season in the FA Cup Qualifiers.
For the Norton game, the Priorymen will be without Liddle who is not available and Pete Bulmer is still doubtful after injuring his groin against Ashington.