Guisborough Town 2 Hebburn Town 2

(Northern League – Division One)

Guisborough Town stretched their unbeaten run to six matches with a well-earned and fully deserved point against high-flying Hebburn Town at the KGV Stadium on Saturday. The 2-2 draw brought to an end Guisborough’s superb record-breaking run of five straight wins out of five without a single goal being conceded - but it preserved the resurgent Priorymen’s current undefeated run and lifted them up to sixth in the table.

Guisborough got off to a superb start with a goal after only three minutes when great through ball from Josh Rowbotham found ace wingman Steve Roberts, who outpaced the Hebburn defence with his lightning speed before cutting in from the right and cleverly scoring from an acute angle.

It was Roberts’ 49th career goal for Guisborough so only one more for the flying wingman to reach his half century. Hebburn equalised in the 18th minute when Graeme Armstrong scored with a close-range header. Then the Tyneside team got their noses in front in the 53rd minute when Oliver Martin scored with a low, stooping header. But Guisborough deservedly drew level on 72 minutes when Luke Nixon scored his fourth goal in four matches, magnificently outjumping the Hebburn defence with a great header to make it 2-2.

And that’s how it stayed to the end of a hugely entertaining match, watched by a very healthy crowd of 329 – the second best of the day in the Northern League. After the game, Guisborough Manager Gary Forster said: “Before the match we would have taken a draw all day long because Hebburn are a top side, one of the best in the league. We didn’t play like our normal selves in the first half and were a little lack-lustre and could count ourselves to go in level at 1-1 by the interval.

“A side with the attacking prowess that Hebburn has could have killed us off but Ryan Catterick kept them at bay with two great saves. In the second half we were the much better side and we could have taken all three points with a bit more luck. Overall, to take four points this season from a top team like Hebburn is a good achievement. Josh Rowbotham was outstanding again for us today and Steve Roberts did his job well by scoring and assisting.”

Following last Saturday’s excellent 2-0 win at Whitley Bay, which was Guisborough’s fifth clean-sheet victory in a row, it prompted thoughts of whether this was a club record. Club statistician John Newton combed through his Guisborough Town archives and was able to confirm that it was indeed the Priorymen’s best-ever winning run without conceding a goal. Although there have been longer winning run sequences – notably the amazing 13 victories on the trot in season 1992/93 – never before had the club gone five winning games while keeping clean sheets.