Jarrow Roofing 4, Guisborough Town 1 (Northern League Division One)
Guisborough Town’s hopes of avoiding relegation to Division Two were dealt a hammer blow on Saturday when they were well beaten by one of their nearest rivals Jarrow Roofing.
In what was seen as a ‘must win’ match, the Priorymen conceded four goals in a calamitous first half hour and never really looked like recovering from that position despite a more spirited second half showing in which they effectively drew 0-0 after being 4-1 down at half-time.
Before the match started Guisborough, occupying the third relegation spot in 20th place, stood a catchable eight points behind the Roofers one place above them. Now, however, Jarrow have widened that gap to 11 points with both teams having played the same number of games.
That said, Washington – where Guisborough earned a good point at a fortnight ago – are now in the ‘safe spot’ in the table immediately above the Priorymen and have a 10-point cushion but they have played one game more, so there is still mathematical hope…
Guisborough Town Manager Gary Forster, a natural optimist, is rightly refusing to concede defeat in the battle to avoid relegation and despite the disappointment of yesterday’s heavy defeat at Jarrow he was still in defiant mood.
After the game he said: “If we can win our next two home games against Ashington on Wednesday and then Ryhope CA next Saturday then if we can string together more wins in our next six or seven matches and get some wins under our belts then we could still pull clear.
“But as far as yesterday’s game was concerned, it was a terrible, terrible result. We conceded very early on but I thought over the next 10 minutes we got back into the game and looked for a time like we would go on to win it.
“But I told the players afterwards that some of our defending and decision-making was unacceptable. We just didn’t earn the right to get anything from the game in the end,” added Gary.
He praised both his goalkeeper Jordan Nixon, who had an excellent game despite conceding four goals, and young attacking midfielder/wingman Steve Roberts, who he described as “outstanding.”
It was Roberts, looking a class player and indeed the best man on the pitch, who gave Guisborough some hope a minute from the interval when he struck a superb 25-yard free kick into the far corner of the net.
Then shortly after the re-start Roberts, causing all sorts of problems to the Roofers down the right flank, fashioned a superb chance for Lewis Goldsack but from just 10 yards out and the goal at his mercy the unmarked the youngster dragged his shot wide and it shaved the outside of the post.
Roberts, enjoying a rare start after an injury-plagued season, looked very sharp as he skipped past opponents time after time and showed great bursts of speed and it was no surprise Gary Forster made him man of the match.
In the third minute of the game Guisborough goalkeeper Jordan Nixon – described by Forster as “one of the best in the league” – saved his side with a truly world-class save to leap acrobatically to his right to brilliantly turn away a shot from Jarrow’s Paul Gardiner.
But just one minute later the Roofers took the lead when Chris Winn made no mistake beating Nixon with his defence AWOL.
Guisborough regained their composure and in the next 10 minutes had two good chance to equalise with first Jack Bailey firing over the bar and then following a corner the ball bobbled about and then squirmed just over the Jarrow bar.
Those missed chances proved costly as the Roofers went 2-0 up on 17 minutes when the dangerous Dennis Knight, carelessly unmarked at the far post, tapped home.
Ten minutes later it was 3-0 when Winn turned smartly in the Guisborough box and curled a shot into the far corner despite Nixon getting a hand to it.
And in the 34th minute Jarrow went 4-0 up when Guisborough conceded a free kick on the edge of the area and up stepped Knight hit the free kick into the net via the underside of the bar.
From then on, apart from Roberts’ superb strike and Goldsack’s near miss Jarrow settled for just containing Guisborough and preserving their comfortable lead which they held to the final whistle.
Guisborough now face two crucial home league games in the next week which once again are ‘must-win’ matches if they are to stand any chance of retaining their Division One status.
On Wednesday, 22 February they meet Ashington at the KGV (KO 7.45pm) seeking a rare ‘double’ having beaten the Northumberlanders 3-1 back in August last year. Then next Saturday, 25 February Guisborough entertain Ryhope CW again at the KGV (KO 3pm).
Photo: Guisborough’s Jack Bailey gets in a good header in midfield. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.