Washington 0, Guisborough Town 0 (Northern League Division One)
A plucky performance from Guisborough Town earned them a hard-fought goalless draw in a ‘six-pointer’ relegation battle at Washington on Saturday.
In a full-blooded end-to-end game, both sides had opportunities to win the match but overall a draw was a fair result in the end.
Guisborough Manager Gary Forster was pleased with his side’s efforts but couldn’t hide his disappointment to come away with only a point from a game the Priorymen really needed to win to close the gap on the teams just above them in the relegation zone.
After the game Gary commented: “I’m fairly happy to come away with a point but to be honest I think we needed to come away with a win today. It was a very even game with both sides having a few good chances.
“The game was very open in the last 10 minutes towards the end and we seemed to get on top and could have nicked a winner but it wasn’t to be.”
Gary paid tribute to his Man of the Match Lewis Goldsack, who had an outstanding game at left back.
“He was exceptional and when we went into a bit of a lull in the first half he dragged us out of it and at only 17 years old he deserves a lot of credit.
“Overall I thought football-wise we were ok but we can be better than that but hopefully we have stopped the rot a little bit and we can kick on from here.
“From now on every game will be a like a Cup Final and we need as many points as possible between now and the end of the season to give ourselves a realistic chance of staying up,” added Gary.
On a fine sunny afternoon but with a biting cold wind, Washington were first to threaten in the eighth minute when a 20-yard shot from Waters shaved the top of the Guisborough cross bar.
Guisborough managed to weather the early pressure from an in-form Washington side who had won three of their previous five league games.
Guisborough’s Whitby loanee Mikey Roberts burst down the right wing on 26 minutes and cut inside but his well-struck shot went wide.
On the half hour Washington centre back Bramley got into the penalty area and got in a good low shot from 12 yards out but Guisborough keeper Nixon got down well to save as the first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
PARRY THE BALL AWAY
In the second half Guisborough had a strong wind at their backs and Guisborough’s first real chance came on 55 minutes as striker Mason McNeill turned smartly to get in a great shot but Washington keeper Gladstone managed to parry the ball away. With the loose ball seemingly going for a corner Goldsack charged in and managed to get in another shot from a tight angle but this time Gladstone pushed the ball out for a Guisborough corner, which came to nothing.
Ten minutes later came a match-defining moment when following a Washington corner Guisborough defender Matty Lovatt made a wonderful goal-line clearance from a Matty Waters effort to keep the scoresheet goal-less.
Then on 70 minutes Washington went mightily close again to breaking the deadlock when in a crowded goalmouth as a corner came over Bramley got in a goal-bound shot but it was deflected narrowly wide for another Washington corner.
Guisborough responded with a swift back down the right wing by Roberts who unleashed a terrific left foot shot which whistled just wide of the far Washington post.
In the 80th minute came the miss of the game when Washington winger Shaw ballooned his shot wide from only three years out, a real let-off for the Priorymen.
Three minutes later Guisborough won a corner at the other end and Roberts floated over a dangerous flag kick but Washington keeper Gladstone managed to punch clear with Guisborough players waiting to pounce.
If the final minutes Guisborough finished with a flourish and in a last-gasp attack Roberts had a great chance to pinch the points from the Priorymen but his first shot was blocked and he just couldn’t sort out his feet to pounce on the rebound, so it finished all square at 0-0.
Guisborough have no midweek game next week but next Saturday, 11 February they face probably what will be a season-defining and vital home game against Ashington at the KGV Stadium, hoping to complete a rare double over the Northumberland side who they beat 3-1 back in August last year.
Then the following Saturday on 18 February Guisborough travel to fellow strugglers Jarrow Roofing, which will be another must-win match for the Priorymen. Guisborough remain in the third relegation spot in the table in 20th place, eight points from safety behind fourth from bottom Jarrow.
Photo: Heads I win! Guisborough midfielder Gary Wood gets between two Washington players to win the ball back. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.