A DRAMATIC last-gasp goal from left back Joe Ferguson earned Guisborough Town a vitally important victory over top of the form table Team Northumbria at the KGV Stadium on Saturday. The tremendous effort not only sent the Guisborough faithful in a 154 crowd deliriously happy, it epitomised the essence of what the Ebac Northern League is all about.

Team Northumbria arrived at the KGV with an impressive unbeaten run behind them which had propelled them to the top of the Northern League form table. Guisborough themselves had been climbing the form table to seventh on the back of a superb unbeaten run of seven games which had lifted them comfortably but not completely away from the relegation zone.

Team Northumbria – which comprises of many young University of Northumbria students – are a very fit side and that was evident in their play, particularly in the second half when they pegged the Priorymen back in their own half for long spells. But this young Guisborough side are also very fit and matched the Northumbria from start to finish in what was an absorbing end-to-end encounter with plenty of excellent play from both sides to savour.

Nixon’s first magnificent effort came just after Steve Roberts had put Guisborough ahead in the 45th minute after fellow frontman Mason McNeill played him in beautifully and Roberts finished with his usual devastating execution into the corner of the net. In a hectic final few minutes - with the match finely poised at 1-0 to Guisborough courtesy yet another fine first half goal from winger Steve Roberts – two further goals were scored in a breathtakingly exciting finish.

Guisborough’s players must have already been looking forward to their half time drink when Northumbria surged upfield from the re-start and from a great cross out on the right former Prioryman Andrei Ardelean sent a powerful header goalwards but from almost point-blank range Nixon brilliantly tipped the ball over the bar.

In the second half Northumbria went in search of the equaliser and penned Guisborough back in their own half for long periods. But some great defending, particularly by Matthew Crust, Brian Close and Matty Lovatt, plus more superb goalkeeping by Nixon kept Northumbria at bay until the 88th minute when Spence finally breached the Guisborough defences to set up that dramatic finale.

Although Northumbria pressed Guisborough very hard in the second half, on balance Guisborough carved out the best chances and were full value for their precious three points. Northumbria finally made their second half pressure pay in the 87th minute when they won a free kick out on the right and when the ball was floated into the Guisborough penalty area Robert Spence rose to steer a good header into the corner of the net.

The disappointment on the faces of the Guisborough players and fans alike was palpable but they refused to let their heads drop and swept back upfield almost immediately. The ball was played out to Ferguson wide on the left and he cut in superbly and let fly with a brilliant shot which arrowed through a melee of players into the far corner of the net to spark those jubilant scenes.

Then just a minute later came Ferguson’s dramatic late winner The 89th minute goal – a peach of a rasping low shot from 16 yards into the far corner of the net – sparked scenes of jubilation too among the Guisborough players – but never-say-die Northumbria came at Guisborough one final time in time added on and won a corner. It was floated over beautifully and Northumbria left back Aidan Heywood got in a great effort but Nixon was on hand yet again to keep the ball out with another brilliant save.

A delighted Guisborough manager Gary Forster said after the game: “I asked Fergie how he felt after scoring such a great last-ditch winner and he said it was a better feeling that Serio Aguero probably had after that famous goal he scored for Manchester City a few years back to win them the Premier League!”

Forster had predicted before the game that it would be a very tight affair between two in-form sides and he called that exactly right. “I was really pleased with the result in the end – I thought we just about edged it. We were dominant in the first half and should have been more than one goal up at half-time. As the game wore on in the second half I thought Northumbria were the better side but we were still looking to catch them on the break but I was a little disappointed that we were not as good at this as we normally are.”

“I thought our goalkeeper Jordan Nixon made two top class saves to keep us on top but for me our young defender Matthew Crust was my man-of-the-match – I thought he was colossal,” added Gary.

Every single Guisborough player played their own important part in this classically hard-earned win – and none more so than skipper and goalkeeper Jordan Nixon. He pulled off several tremendous saves. The win and the welcome three points lifted the Priorymen to 15th in the table – 11 points above the nearest relegation spot.