Guisborough Town 1, Shildon 5 (FA Cup Preliminary Round)
A 26th minute flashpoint which saw Guisborough Town left back Dylan McAvoy straight red-carded for a tackle on Shildon right back Daniel Groves proved so costly for the Priorymen in their Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at the KGV on Saturday.
Referee Lindsey Robinson brandished the red card after McAvoy stretched long for a loose ball but in doing so he caught Groves after clearing the ball but the Shildon man ended up injured on the ground.
It seemed a harsh and hotly-disputed decision much to the consternation and frustration of the Guisborough bench standing only a few yards away from the incident. Sure, McAvoy had lunged hard for the ball but it was a 50-50 loose ball situation and there seemed no malice whatsoever in McAvoy’s challenge.
In fact it was Groves who actually made contact with the outstretched foot of McAvoy a split second after the Guisborough man had stretched to clear the loose ball.
A desperately disappointed Guisborough Manager Gary Forster commented afterwards: “Dylan got a bad touch on the ball but as he stretched out to get to the loose Groves actually made contact with Dylan’s leg – so much so that Dylan’s shin pad came out and it could actually have been a free kick to us!
“I thought the sending off was a harsh decision and the referee could have exercised some discretion on the incident,” added Gary.
Up to that point, Guisborough had looked distinctly the better side despite having let slip an early third minute lead after Steve Roberts scored another wonderful solo goal. The flying winger latched on to a good pass down the line from Anthony Snook, dropped his shoulder George Best-style and then raced on to rifle home into the roof of the net.
But Shildon quickly drew level 1-1 when Kyle May headed home in the seventh minute following a corner, but nevertheless Guisborough continued to make all the running with Connor Smith forcing a good save from former KGV keeper Nick Liversedge and then Mason McNeill heading just wide from a Roberts pass.
But the game was turned on its head by that unfortunate 26th minute sending off of McAvoy with Shildon pressing and probing Guisborough with the extra space they had and Town defender Brad Mills had to come to his side’s rescue just before half-time with a brilliant block.
However, within four minutes of the start of the second half, Shildon shocked Guisborough by scoring three goals in super-quick succession to virtually seal victory.
First Michael Rae took advantage of some slow Guisborough defending in the 46th minute to make it 2-1 and then within a minute Rae fired home a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area to surge into a 3-1 lead.
And just two minutes later the shell-shocked Priorymen conceded a fourth goal when Adam Burnicle smashed home from 10 yards out.
Then in the 58th minute Shildon went into an unassailable 5-1 lead when winger Anthony Peacock lobbed over Guisborough keeper to complete a miserable afternoon which had started so brightly for gallant Guisborough.
Guisborough players, officials and fans in the crowd of 204 were left to rue what might have been but for the sending off, because until then the Priorymen definitely looked to have the measure of Shildon, playing some excellent football.
Gary Forster added: “Overall I thought we played very well, particularly in the first half when we looked sharp and caused them a lot of problems. The only real disappointment was that immediately after half time we just switched off and conceded three very quick goals and with 10 men that was game over for us.
“We have a very young side though and I do feel sorry for the lads the way things worked out today. But we move on and we’ve got a good squad and a good spirit and I’m still positive about the season, particularly when we overcome the crop of injuries we’ve been battling against,” said Gary.
Highlights from the match can be seen on Guisborough Town’s official Twitter page via this link.
Photo: Guisborough midfielder Jack Connor shows great determination to keep Shildon at bay with a good clearance. Picture courtesy of Ian Rose.