Guisborough Town’s defensive fragilities were cruelly exposed once again at the KGV on Saturday as the Priorymen twice let slip first half leads to undo what at times had been a scintillating display of attacking football.
Watched by a bumper crowd of 345 – swelled by enthusiastic Juniors’ Day visitors – Guisborough started off superbly with some fluent attacking play but somehow the RCA defence managed to survive the early exchanges.
And to rub salt in their wounds Guisborough found themselves a goal down after 13 minutes completely against the run of play when Guisborough goalkeeper Jordan Nixon’s attempted punched clearance unluckily hit the back of Lee Bythway’s head and fell kindly to Nathan O’Neill who swept the ball home from 12 yards out.
But Guisborough came roaring back on 29 minutes when a superb run to the by-line and cut back by Bradley Mills earned the Priorymen a penalty when Mason McNeill was upended from behind and referee Lindsey Robinson rightly pointed to the spot. Guisborough midfield dynamo Lewis Maloney hammered home the spot kick with ease to make it 1-1.
Then just two minutes later Guisborough grabbed a deserved 2-1 lead when Steve Roberts and Maloney played a neat one-two and the latter played a defence-splitting pass through to striker Mason McNeill who burst through the RCA defence and drew the ‘keeper before superbly tucking the ball home through Sunderland keeper Neil Bussey’s legs.
The lead, however, only lasted only three minutes as poor defensive covering once again let Guisborough down and allowed the unmarked Colin Larkin to blast the ball home at the near post to square things up at 2-2.
But in the 41st minute as the game continued to see-saw in exciting fashion, Guisborough regained the lead when winger Steve Roberts jinked to make room for himself just outside the penalty area and scored with a stunning 20 yard drive which rocketed into the net to put the Priorymen back in the driving seat at 3-2.
Frustratingly, though, Guisborough surrendered their lead yet again two minutes into time added on before the interval when Nathan O’Neill grabbed his second with a half-volley from 12 years into the far corner – another soft goal from Guisborough’s point of view.
It was so frustrating for the Priorymen to go in at half-time only on level terms at 3-3 rather than taking a lead through to the interval.
And just two minutes after the re-start they were made to pay dearly for their inability to hold on to a lead when RCA broke from a long dead ball kick and Colin Larkin chipped the ball over Town keeper Jordan Nixon’s head and it dipped under the crossbar into the far corner of the net to edge his side 4-3 into the lead.
Thereafter, Guisborough came close on three or four occasions but in truth they huffed and puffed but couldn’t reproduce the same devastating penetration up front that they had achieved in the first half.
And it was Guisborough keeper Nixon at the other end who pulled off a fine save following an RCA free kick in the dying stages to keep the Priorymen in with a glimmer of a chance which sadly didn’t materialise.
Our Match Sponsors, Tees Components Limited, pick Steven Roberts as Man-of-the-Match.
The defeat still leaves Guisborough precariously placed just a point above the relegation zone.
It was such a disappointing outcome to a day which had begun so brightly with a bumper crowd and joyful scenes of Guisborough’s thriving young Junior Section players warming up on the pitch with the senior players before the game then shouting their encouragement out to their heroes during the play.
Afterwards Guisborough Senior Team Coach Mark Casey commented: “Obviously it was very disappointing to score three goals at home but still come off the losing side.
“I thought when we went 2-1 up we looked very comfortable but unfortunately we keep making the same mistakes week in week out.
“Obviously we the coaches and the players need to address this on the training field and try to rectify it. We need to stick together as a team but unfortunately we keep making silly errors which are costing us dearly,” added Mark. “We have got some very good footballers in our squad and I’m sure at some point we are really going to spank someone when it all comes together.
“We’ll go into that game (against Whitley Bay) in a positive frame of mind and hopefully get a good result but Whitley Bay are a good side and they will come here on the back of some good recent results so we will have to be at our best,” said Mark.
Despite the disappointment of the result on the pitch, Guisborough once again celebrated another one of their hugely successful ‘Juniors’ Days’, which epitomise all that is superb about Guisborough Football Club, Club Chairman Don Cowan was delighted with turn-out both from young players and their parents and families.
“It made for a carnival type atmosphere and we were very pleased with how it all went,” said a delighted Don. “Our Junior Section is vital to the future of this club and it is great to see all the young players and it makes you wonder how many of them will grace the KGV at some stage in the future – by the look of it there could be quite a few!
“So a big thank-you to all the parents for coming along with their children and making it such a big success and my grateful thanks too to all our junior coaches and helpers who do such a lot of unsung hard work with the youngsters,” Don added.
Once again there are excellent filmed highlights of the RCA match by Ian Rose, including a post-match interview with one of Guisborough’s senior coaches, Mark Casey. The footage can be viewed on Priorymen TV via the following link: Priorymen TV | Guisborough Town 3-4 Sunderland RCA
Match photo's can also be seen via the following link: Match Photos | Guisborough Town 3-4 Sunderland RCA