Guisborough Town 1, Marske United 3 (Northern League Division One)
Guisborough Town’s gallant attempt to avoid relegation was dealt a severe blow at the KGV on Easter Monday when local rivals Marske United brought to a half the Priorymen’s scintillating recent run of five successive victories.
Following this disappointing derby defeat Guisborough will now have a nervous wait to see how their nearest rivals for the drop – Washington and West Auckland – fare in their next matches tonight and tomorrow.
If either of these two slip up and lose their midweek games then the relegation outcome will go right to the wire in the Guisborough’s final league game of the season at home to likely title winners South Shields at the KGV and even then the Priorymen will have to hope Washington and West Auckland lose their final games.
So some huge games are coming up to bring the curtain down on what has been an incredible season for Guisborough but whether Town stay up or go down no-one can fault the amazing efforts – particularly in the past two months – that the players and the management team have put in.
The match against Marske produced a highly-competitive contest in which once again the finest of margins could have tilted the game one way or the other.
After a fairly even first half Marske went into the interval a goal up thanks to Adam Wheatley who slotted home from close range in the 29th minute.
In the second half Guisborough pressed strongly in search of an equaliser and came so close on the hour mark when Lee Bythway got in a great header following a corner but the ball agonisingly struck the Marske bar and was scrambled clear.
And in the 89th minute the woodwork came to Marske’s rescue once again as a Marske defender glanced a header against his own bar. As the clock ticked down Guisborough had a massive shout for a penalty when a Marske defender appeared to clearly handle the ball in the penalty area but to Guisborough’s dismay the referee waved play on.
Then in a frantic final few minutes Marske scored two more goals from former KGV favourite Curtis Round (89 minutes) and Ashley Coffey (93 mins) to make a 3-0 scoreline that didn’t reflect the overall balance of play in the slightest.
With the last attack of the game in the 95th minute Matty Lovatt rose to head home a consolation goal for Guisborough to make the final score 1-3 to Marske.
After the game a desperately disappointed Guisborough Manager Gary Forster commented: “This was a tough one to take, particularly since I think we more than matched Marske for much of the game.
“I think we were the better side in the opening 15 minutes and we looked confident and I expected us to go on and win the game. But in the last 15 minutes of the first half things changed a little bit and to be fair their first goal was coming.
HIT THE BAR TWICE!
“Then in the second half we came back strongly, hit the bar twice and had a couple of half chances as well and it was looking like we were going to get back into the game. Overall I thought a draw would have been a fair result but it wasn’t to be,” added Gary ruefully.
Looking ahead to the final game of the season at home to South Shields on Saturday Gary added: “We’ll go again against South Shields and give it our all and I know some people will probably write us off given how strong Shields are but football does funny things at times so you never know.”
Gary paid rich tribute to his players for their efforts over the season, adding: “I think we have an exceptional squad of players, the majority of whom are under 20. If we can keep the nucleus of them together than regardless of what division we’re playing in I’m convinced we will do well as these young players gain more experience to add to their undoubted ability.”
Photo: Guisborough’s legendary striker Dave ‘Do’ Onions in typically determined mood as he tries to spur his side on. After the game 35-year-old Talisman Do announced his retirement and will play his final game of competitive football when the curtain comes down on his and the league’s season against South Shields on Saturday. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.