The ‘Great Escape’ Is Still A Reality!

Penrith 0, Guisborough Town 4 (Northern League Division One)

Guisborough Town’s glorious bid to beat the dreaded drop was given a massive boost with a magnificent 4-0 win at Penrith on Saturday.

The precious three points earned at Penrith have helped set the battling Priorymen up for a nail-biting finale to what has been a roller-coaster season.

Just two league games remain for Guisborough to seal their final fate – but regardless of the outcome no-one can doubt the tremendous efforts Manager Gary Forster and his never-say-die team have made to preserve their coveted Division One status.

This latest vital victory over Penrith completed a terrific double for Guisborough over the Cumbrian side and brought Guisborough their fifth successive win to maintain their recent revival momentum. So what has been coined as ‘The Great Escape’ for Guisborough is still very much on the cards.

The only downside to the fantastic result after an incident-packed game was a bad injury to defender Jamie Poole following a truly shocking 59th minute tackle by Penrith midfielder Adam Main.

Most spectators – even Penrith’s own followers – thought the incident should have resulted in a straight red as Main lunged wildly at Poole with both feet off the ground and caught him on his ankle, which could easily have resulted in a fracture. Sadly Main achieved what seemed like a premeditated aim and the brave ‘Poolie’ had to limp off 10 minutes later.

However, Main didn’t learn his lesson and eventually appropriate justice was done when the Penrith man made another stupidly reckless tackle on Ben Hugill in the 71st minute and was rightfully sent off in disgrace.

After a goalless stalemate of a first half Guisborough took a deserved lead on 55 minutes when great work on the left by Connor Smith – who had rattled the Penrith bar three minutes earlier – set up Dave Onions at the far post and the big prolific striker scored gleefully.

In the 65th minute Guisborough were awarded a penalty but uncharacteristically Onions hit the spot kick over the bar.

Five minutes later as Guisborough pressed forward a wonderful bit of skill from Steve Roberts sadly went unrewarded when manoeuvred himself into position with a great turn and flick only to see his shot strike the Penrith bar.

Nevertheless Roberts got his reward in the 74th minute when Guisborough were awarded a second penalty for hand-ball and Roberts coolly sent the Penrith ‘keeper the wrong way to double his side’s lead to 2-0.

It was all Guisborough and they surged forward again and increased their lead to 3-0 in the 80th minute with a truly wonderful Louis Goldsack goal. It would have had Gary Lineker and his Match of the Day pundits eulogising about it as Goldsack hooked the ball spectacularly with his left foot into the far corner off the post.

MEMORABLE VICTORY

And the ever-improving and impressive Goldsack rounded off a memorable victory for the Priorymen three minutes from time, cutting in from the left before scoring with a well-placed right foot shot into the far corner.

The travelling KGF faithful and Guisborough players and officials alike were ecstatic at the final whistle as the Priorymen wrapped up their fifth win in a row – the first time they have put together such a run since March/April 2015.

The only downside for Guisborough apart from the Jamie Poole injury was that the two teams immediately above them in the table – Washington and West Auckland – both surprisingly won away so the Priorymen remain one point off safety.

After the game Guisborough Manager Gary Forster was delighted with the result but in subdued mood over the Jamie Poole injury, which could well rob him of one of his star men ahead of the crucial KGV Easter Monday derby against Marske United (KO 11am).

He said: “It was a superb result in the end because this is a tough place to come and the pitch was in the worst condition I’ve ever seen which didn’t help us with our style of play.

“It was very hard in the first half and we had to grind things out but in the second half our class told to be honest,” said Gary.

Referring to the tackle on Jamie Poole by Penrith’s Adam Main he was clearly upset about it and commented: “It was a cowardly, obscene tackle which leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

“We’ll have to see how Jamie is on Monday for the match against Marske, which is going to be a massive game for us. They are clearly a very strong side as their high league position shows and they have a lot of our ex-players so it is going to be a tough ask but we’ll give it our best as always,” said a determined Gary, who chose fast-improving young left back Dylan McAvoy as his Man of the Match.

Highlights of the game, filmed by Ian Rose, can be seen by clicking here

Photo: Guisborough left back Dylan McAvoy (right) – chosen as Man of the Match by Manager Gary Forster – brings the ball beautifully under control. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.