King George V Stadium
Guisborough Town goalkeeper Jordan Nixon crowned his comeback game with a breath-taking 94th minute goal to earn his side an FA Cup lifeline against Newton Aycliffe at the KGV.
The Priorymen had squandered a 2-0 half-time, allowing Aycliffe back into the game and to build up a 3-2 lead. All looked lost for Guisborough but deep into time added on the heroic Nixon refused to throw the towel in.
As Guisborough mounted a last-ditch attack, midfielder John Seaton swung a hopeful high ball into the Aycliffe area. Nixon just seemed to appear from nowhere to latch on to a Nathan Steel knock-down and smash the ball gleefully into the roof of the net.
The goal sparked wild scenes for Guisborough both on and off the field as Nixon disappeared under what looked like a rugby ruck as players dived in to celebrate with their skipper.
The brave Nixon was making his comeback after several weeks out with a serious shoulder injury, and he couldn’t have marked his return more dramatically.
He said after the game: “To be honest I didn’t think for one minute that I was going to miss and I couldn’t have hit it better. I think I’ll have to keep the outfield players back for extra training and show them how to do it,” he joked.
He continued: “It is the first goal I have ever scored and I think I owe it to the CR7 energy drink that we take before the game because without it I don’t think I would have had the energy left to get up the field for my goal and then get all the way back to my goalmouth.”
Asked whether he’d be thinking about hanging up his goalkeeper’s shirt for the Number 9 shirt, he said: “I don’t know but I’ll be having a word with the gaffer about that later!”
Despite the euphoria over Nixon’s late heroics, there was no disguising the fact that after a dominant first-half display Guisborough just went AWOL in the 15 minutes after the break when they conceded three very poor goals to fritter away a 2-0 lead.
And that fact didn’t escape the notice of Guisborough’s wily manager Gary Forster, who commented: “It was an awful period in that second half, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any team of mine capitulate like that.
“It was similar to last season when we played Aycliffe at their place and went 3-0 down but recovered in the second half to drawn 3-3.
“I’ve discussed with the lads in the changing room how bad we were in the first 15 minutes of the second half and then to be fair we rallied and it looked like it was coming good again for us.
“But then for Jordan Nixon to pop up like he did and score in the last minute was pure elation – it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen on a football pitch to be honest, it was brilliant!” commented Gary.
Asked about Nixon’s last-minute charge up the field and whether it was with his blessing Gary added: “Jordan had been itching to join the attack about 10 minutes from time but I stopped him on that occasion as I thought it was too early.
“But he asked me the question again in the last minute and I thought well we’ve got nothing to lose so I gave him the nod this time to go up.
“Jordan benefitted from a good knock-down by Nathan Steel and it was a great finish by Jordan. He must have had extra CR7 to find the energy to gallop up the field like he did but he composed himself well when his chance came and he finished off superbly,” said Gary.
Nixon actually had to be drafted back into the side because on-loan goalkeeper Ryan Catterick’s club Hartlepool didn’t want him to be cup-tied for when they enter the FA Cup competition later in the season.
Gary added: “Jordan has missed all pre-season through his shoulder injury and it’s great to have Jordan back in the side because he’s a good influence on the squad. And one game one goal is a fantastic ratio for a goalkeeper!”
Looking ahead to the replay with Aycliffe, which will take place at their Moor Lane Park ground this coming Tuesday, 14 August (KO 7.45pm) Gary said: “Obviously we need to finish the game off. We have drawn our last three games between us so we are two very evenly-matched sides.
“But if we can go out and do what we did in the first-half again then we will go through but if we have a repeat of that first period in the second half then we will go out. Simple as that,” added Gary.
As far as the match overall is concerned, it was an unbelievably eventful affair. Guisborough started brilliantly and took the lead after just 12 minutes when a smart one-two from a corner between Steve Roberts and Mark Robinson saw Roberts send over a pin-point cross and big striker Anthony Hume rose high to head superbly into the net.
Guisborough continued to dominate the first half but had to wait until four minutes before half-time for their second goal when a brilliant defence-splitting run and through-ball by full back Brad Mills resulted in Hume cleverly sliding the ball home for 2-0 to the Priorymen at the interval.
Within 17 minutes of the re-start, however, Aycliffe had not only pulled level but got their noses in front to lead 3-2.
First former Guisborough striker Matty Pennal took advantage of poor defensive covering to slide the ball home first from a cross in the 51st minute and then from a free kick six minutes later. And on 62 minutes James Rowe made it 3-2 after Guisborough failed to deal with a corner from the left.
After that the rest, as they say, is history…thanks to never-say-die hero Jordan Nixon.
MP Simon Clarke gives Priorymen a vote of confidence!
Meanwhile, local MP Simon Clarke, a keen Boro fan, was invited to the game yesterday to receive a typically warm KGV welcome and afterwards he gave a Parliamentary Seal of Approval for what he experienced.
After the game the Member for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland said he was genuinely impressed by the standard of the football he saw.
“The standard of play was excellent and what a fantastic game with an incredible finish,” he commented.
He congratulated Guisborough ‘keeper Jordan Nixon on the pitch for his goal and was also presented with a Guisborough Town scarf as a memento of his visit.
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