Sunderland RCA 2 Guisborough Town 4 (Northern League Division One)
Guisborough Town launched their new Northern League season with an ultimately emphatic 4-2 victory at Sunderland RCA on Saturday.
With the game evenly balanced at 2-2 and with only minutes to go, Guisborough finished much the stronger side and grabbed two late goals to take all three points when a draw looked the more likely outcome.
The deadlock at 2-2 was broken by a truly tremendous individual goal by the all-action, young attacking midfielder Tom Bligh, who looks a superb signing on the strength of this game and earlier pre-season matches.
With time ticking down to the 90-minute mark and a share of the spoils looking on the cards, Bligh had different ideas and he took possession about 30 yards from goal and surged forward, brushing aside three defenders before unleashing a terrific shot from just inside the penalty area which fairly flew into the roof of the net.
Then in the third minute of time added on Town substitute Kyran Clark sealed all three points when he rounded the RCA ‘keeper and slotted home for 4-2.
Young Bligh, still only 19, was deservedly made Man of the Match by Guisborough. Manager Steve Dowling, who commented: “Tom came to us from Thornaby and has previously been at West Auckland and Norton.
“He lives in Cargo Fleet Lane near Brambles Farm and is best mates with one of our other recent signings, Steve Roberts. Tom has got great energy and can certainly play plus he’s a pleasure to work with – a good listener and a young lad who wants to learn and constantly improve,” said Dowlo.
He continued: “Today I thought in the first half we played some excellent football against a good RCA team and we took a deserved lead through Thibault Charmey after good work from Matty Pennal, who was enjoying a very good game.
“But the lead was short-lived as we failed to stop a cross which resulted in an RCA equaliser. Soon after that we were caught out again to go 2-1 down.
Thankfully we soon got back into the game with an excellent Peter Bulmer free kick.
“The second half was a more even affair and maybe a draw would have been a fair result but after hitting the post a great goal from Tom Bligh, who was enjoying an excellent game, put us back in the lead then a Kyran Clark goal sealed the game in the last seconds.
“There were some good performances throughout the team today with ‘T’ Charmey and Matty Pennal a constant threat and Gary wood and Liam McPhillips enjoyed solid games but my man of the match was Tom Bligh whose all-round performance was really excellent,” added Dowlo.
Guisborough’s opening goal was a very well-worked move in the 19th minute involving a great run by Paul Roddam and a cross helped on my the industrious Matty Pennal to Charmey who made no mistake turning the ball home from close range. It was T’s third goal in the last two matches.
But within a minute RCA hit back when Liam McBride headed home unmarked at the far post and then they shocked Guisborough by taking the lead seven minutes later when Liam McBride scored with the Town defence at sixes and sevens.
In the 35th minute, however, Guisborough levelled at 2-2 when Pete Bulmer capped some fine play by placing a 20-yard free kick expertly inside the right-hand post.
In the second half the game was a much more even, end to end affair with RCA copying some of Guisborough’s impressive passing play. But Guisborough’s superior fitness started to tell in the last 10 minutes and after a Bulmer shot had been deflected on to the RCA post Bligh struck his second goal of the season with that special strike a minute from the end of normal time to make it 3-2 and then Clark sealed it deep into time added on.
Guisborough now look forward to their first home league game of the season against Dunston UTS next Wednesday, 17 August at the KGV (KO 7.45pm) and then next Saturday, 20 August the Priorymen are in FA Cup action again when they entertain Bridlington Town in a Preliminary Round tie at the KGV (KO 3pm).
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that one of Guisborough’s outstanding young players over the past two years, defender Andrew ‘Rio’ May, has finally re-joined his old team boss Chris Hardy at Whitby after protracted discussions. Everyone at Guisborough Town FC wishes Andrew all the best for the future.
Photo: Goooaaal! Guisborough’s French striker ‘T’ Charmey turns the ball in for his side’s opening goal against RCA. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.