Guisborough Town 3 Ashington 5

EBAC Northern League Division One

TRAILING 2-4 but pressing strongly against opponents who looked just about all in, it looked like a bumper KGV crowd was about to witness another of Guisborough’s famed late comebacks against fellow relegation strugglers Ashington. But any hopes of a last-ditch revival were dashed as Ashington broke away to score to make it 5-2, and although Guisborough scored another late goal – undoubtedly the best of the match – a 5-3 defeat meant the Priorymen’s relegation fears re-surfaced once again.

All in all, it was such a great disappointment in front of a big crowd – swelled by around double the usual size to 331, thanks to another highly successful ‘Junior’s Day’ in which Guisborough Town’s thriving young footballers showcased their talents in a wonderful warm-up on the field before the main game.

The Priorymen had got off to a great start by taking the lead after just four minutes when veteran defender/midfielder Brian Close came up for a corner to nod home superbly. But a woeful defensive mix-up just five minutes later saw Ashington draw level as centre forward Jack Butler took advantage of a hesitant defence to burst through between Guisborough ‘keeper Jordan Nixon and defender Brian Close to virtually walk the ball into the net for 1-1.

Guisborough suffered a severe blow midway through the first half when winger Steve Roberts had to limp off after a heavy challenge. Ashington were in the ascendency and Guisborough keeper Jordan Nixon had to be alert to tip over a shot from Alan Ross in the 22nd minute. Then five minutes later former Guisborough player Chris Youldon put Jake Turnbull clear but his shot went just wide. Three minutes before half-time Ashington took the lead they had been threatening when Butler raced in from the wing, drew Nixon and shot home for a superb individual goal to score his second goal and make it 1-2 to the visitors.

Eight minutes after the re-start Ashington increased their lead when Youldon cut in from the left wing and evaded several Guisborough defenders to score with a smart turn and shot from 10 yards to make it 1-3 to the Northumberland team. Worse was to follow as Ashington continued to dominate and scored their fourth goal skipper Wayne Buchanan came up for a free kick and headed home for 1-4.

But Guisborough gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 72nd minute when Earl headed down and Mark Robinson hit a great shot unerringly into the corner of the net for 2-4. The goal gave Guisborough renewed hope and they pressed forward strongly and had strong shouts for a penalty in the 76th minute when substitute Carl Lawson appeared to be bundled over in the box but the referee waved play on.

As the game swung from end to end Nixon made another good save from Butler to deny him his hat-trick but the Ashington centre forward had the last laugh in the 87th minute when he took advantage of a bad defensive slip to run on and duly complete his hat-trick and make it 2-5.

But Guisborough weren’t finished and two minutes into time added on substitute Brad Mills put over a glorious cross from the right and Mason McNeill headed home superbly to make it 3-5. But it was too little too late for Guisborough and the three deserved points for Ashington enabled them to leap-frog Guisborough in the table and leave the Priorymen precariously positioned just one place above the bottom three.

After the game a hugely disappointed Guisborough Manager Gary Forster commented, “We were very poor today – we had too many players who had off days.

After going 1-0 up I felt very comfortable with the side as we were very dominant. But their equaliser followed by the injury to Steve Roberts knocked us completely out of our stride and unfortunately some of our big players just seemed to go missing. I need to take stock now and look at our situation as a unit overall because we have just not been good enough by our club’s standards,” added Gary.

One particularly pleasing aspect of Guisborough’s game on Saturday was another highly-successful Juniors’ Day with the KGV thronging with its thriving young players and their families, boosting the normal home crowd. As ever Guisborough made great efforts to make the youngsters’ day a memorable one. They were thrilled to take part in a long ‘warm-up’ session out on the pitch with the senior Guisborough players, who did a fantastic job having a kick-around but also taking time to give some coaching as well. Chris Wood, Head of the Guisborough Juniors section, commented: “It was a great day and I was very proud of the turn out and the enthusiasm shown by the young players themselves and their parents who came along in force.” The ladies who volunteer their services on the catering side also did a superb job providing hot dogs, drinks and sweet treats for the kids and since thanks are due to them as well.