A ‘Game Of Two Halves’

Whitley Bay 1, Guisborough Town 1 (Northern League Division One)

Two superb individual goals – one from either side in each half – saw Guisborough Town get a hard-earned point at Whitley Bay to retain second spot in the league.

The flow of the match was almost a carbon copy of how the Priorymen’s game at Newton Aycliffe had unfolded three days earlier, with Guisborough dominating the first half but their opponents coming back strongly in the second period.

Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling summed things up perfectly when he commented: “Tonight’s match was certainly a classic game of two halves. In the first half we were very good with our passing and movements causing them all sorts of problems – but despite that we only had the one excellent goal from Steve Snaith to show for our efforts, and we maybe should have had a couple more.

“In the second half, however, Whitley Bay’s three substitutions turned the game upside down as the home team proceeded to dominate the possession and create quite a few chances, one of which produced a deserved equaliser.

“We also lost a bit of discipline and shape although to be fair after we changed our formation we got back into the game but I thought overall that a draw was a fair result.

“It is easy to sometimes forget the youth we have in our team and some of these young lads are still learning the game and will make wrong decisions from time to time – we are still a work in progress,” added Dowlo, who made Andrew May his Man of the match, just ahead of Jordan Galloway.

Guisborough started the game brightly and should have gone ahead after 25 minutes when they carved open the Bay defence in a superb attacking move in which Danny Earl put Curt Round clean through on goal but with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot agonisingly wide.

But just three minutes later Guisborough took a deserved lead when Ste Snaith cut in from the right and unleashed a great shot from the edge of the area which went like a guided missile into the far left corner.

In the last 10 minutes of the half, though, Bay pulled themselves back into the game and a minute before the interval Guisborough keeper Nick Liversedge had to be on his toes when he raced out of goal to thwart a dangerous Whitley attack.

The home side made three substitutions at half-time – a bold move which paid dividends in the 65th minute when impressive young attacking midfielder Alex Kempster raced clear out on the left wing, cut in and scored into the far corner.

After that, both sides had chances to force a victory – Guisborough notably when a goal-bound shot from Round was deflected for a corner. Overall, both sides deserved a point as Whitley Bay confounded their third from bottom league standing.

DEVELOPMENT SIDE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Guisborough will play their North Riding Senior Cup Semi-final tie at home to arch rivals Marske United at the KGV Stadium on Wednesday, 9 March (kick-off 7.45pm). In the other semi-final Middlesbrough Under-21 Reserves meet Thornaby (kick-off 7.30pm) the following night, 10 March.

Not to be outdone by their senior team-mates, Guisborough’s U-23 Development Side continues to go from strength to strength under the astute guidance of team manager Gary Forster. They have also reached the semi-final of the North Riding Sunday Cup following a crushing 8-2 victory over The Star in their quarter-final tie, with goals from Snaith (3), Smith (2), Lovatt, Helm and Crust. Paul Blake was man of the match.

They have been drawn to play Trafalgar at home in the semi-final to be played on Sunday, 13 March (kick-off 10.30am).

The Guisborough youngsters then followed their County Cup success up with a 3-1 win away to Peterlee (formerly Horden) with two really well-taken goals from young Paul Blake and an unbelievable overhead kick from man of the match Jack Williams.