Dowling's men take cup spoils...
Guisborough Town continued their fine recent run with victory in the Northern League Cup.
By Bill Perfitt
Guisborough Town earned themselves a mouth-watering League Cup Quarter Final home tie against league leaders Shildon by comfortably beating Ashington 4-1 at the KGV on Wednesday.
Young striker Connor Smith celebrated getting a rare start from the kick-off by scoring a superb hat-trick, the first goal of which was a major milestone as it was the 100th competitive goal scored by the Priorymen this season.
Smith was a livewire throughout, looking ultra-sharp and he thoroughly deserved his impressive hat-trick.
He gave Guisborough the lead in the 27th minute when he headed home following a corner. And when Ashington drew level in the 52nd minute with a wickedly deflected Andy Johnson shot, Smith almost immediately restored Guisborough’s lead just two minutes later with a smart shot from close in after good work by Curtis Round.
Then on 61 minutes Smith was brought down by the Ashington ‘keeper and it was fitting that he took the spot kick himself and scored with ease into the corner. It was no surprise to the Guisborough faithful in a crowd of 108 when Smith was named man of the match by his appreciative manager, Steve Dowling.
Town left back Danny McWilliams completed the scoring five minutes from time with a terrific in-swinging corner which sailed directly into the far left corner of the net.
On a very wet night, both teams deserved great credit for putting on a highly entertaining and hugely competitive game from start to finish. Ashington could consider themselves a little unlucky to lose by such a convincing margin, having contributed generously to an excellent game overall.
A delighted Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling commented afterwards: “
I thought we controlled the game tonight and had some very good phases of play in the first half and we deservedly went in 1-0 up with a good finish by Connor Smith from a good cross from Danny McWilliams.
The second half started with Ashington on the front foot and they soon equalised with a deflected shot. But we scored within minutes to take control of the game and then got a third goal from Connor Smith after he had been fouled in the box and converted the penalty himself.
We extended our lead with a goal direct from a corner from Danny McWilliams, who had previously hit the post from a corner.
One of the most pleasing aspects of tonight's game was that we had a midfield three from our development squad in Steve Snaith, Paul Blake and Tom Crainey for the last 10 minutes.
My Man of the match award tonight went to Connor Smith who was a threat all night along with Danny Earl. I also thought Steve Snaith and Chay Liddle ran Connor close for man of the match and also the back three of Leon Carling, Andy May and Jordan Galloway, along with Nick Liversedge in goal, gave us the platform to perform so well and go on and win the game,” said a highly satisfied Dowlo.
Meanwhile, Guisborough’s all-conquering U-23 Development side continued their winning ways with a 3-1 victory at Newton Aycliffe last Sunday with goals from Blake, Bailey and Smith. Man of the match was Ben Hall. The team can now win their league if they can avoid defeat at West Auckland this coming Sunday.
The Guisborough team wanted to dedicate the Aycliffe win to their kit man Wilf Forster, who was rushed into hospital on Saturday with stomach problems. He is recovering in hospital and the signs are positive for Wilf. Everyone at Guisborough Town FC wishes him a full and speedy recovery.