Priorymen Fail To Flower In Vase

Sunderland RCW 7, Guisborough Town 1

Just over 37 years ago, Guisborough – adorned in their red and white stripes – stepped out at Wembley for the FA Vase final. A team clad in the same colours can still dream of the Twin Towers this year, but not Guisborough. Their hosts Ryhope CW romped to victory in a game that was noticeable for the even nature of possession, but distinctly one sided in terms of defensive solidity and attacking thrust.

After an excellent three points secured against Stockton Town on Wednesday evening, the Priorymen were understandably on a high and quietly optimistic as they made the trip northwards up the A19. This optimism climbed several notches when the game was in its infancy. With less than five minutes on the clock, Mills made a marauding run down the right hand side, crossed into the box and the unmarked Roberts turned the ball in from close range.

So often this season on their travels Guisborough have lost early goals and been forced to push forward and take early risks. Today was different and Guisborough needed a spell after their goal where the game was able to settle and not become frenetic. This was not what transpired. Moments after Guisborough were denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty as Roberts was clipped as he raced clear, Bythway found himself stretched one on one and facing his own goal. He did enough to clear the ball but to his dismay saw the ball ricochet off the onrushing forward and over visiting keeper Dawson. With Dawson understandably wrong footed, the RCW player was able to tap the ball in and take his side level. From a position of being on the verge of a two goal lead, Guisborough suddenly found themselves level. Ryhope were strong, quick to loose balls and direct in their attacking and their goal on the half hour was a well taken effort as Nicholson skilfully flicked the ball over Dawson and into the corner.


With just a goal deficit and a young, fit Guisborough side often turning out better second half performances, hopes were still high that the Priorymen could launch a fightback. These hopes disappeared faster than the chips from the refreshment hut. After a dubious free-kick was awarded on the edge of the area, the impressive Kyle Davis curled the free-kick in off the far upright. Guisborough relentlessly attacked in a desperate attempt to regain a foothold. However, Ryhope showed their experience and physicality as they picked off their visitors four more times to comprehensively seal their passage into the next round.

Guisborough manager Gary Foster afterwards mused over the conundrum of why consistency is currently evading his talented young side. On Wednesday evening, Guisborough had deservedly taken three points against promoted Stockton Town. Whilst the scoreline was ultimately closer than home fans would have liked after the sending off of Guisborough’s new acquisition Matthew Crust, there was much to admire from the Priorymen. Their pace and attacking thrust carved out several opportunities. For any young team, the Northern League First Division is an intense, physical league and there are no easy games. There is also very little opportunity to pause for thought in the early weeks of the season as clubs face one game after another with never more than three days between games. Nursing injuries and knocks, a week with no midweek fixture is perhaps the best possible tonic for Guisborough as they prepare for the challenge of North Shields next Saturday (16th September, kick off 3.00 pm). Former Crystal Palace player Iain Dowie once coined the term bouncebackability to refer to a team’s ability to recover after a setback. The Priorymen have already more than proved their ability to bounce back from disappointment this season and Gary Foster’s spirited young team will no doubt be primed for battle against a strong North Shields outfit.

Photo: Kyle Davis’s strike arrows into the corner, one of four goals from the impressive midfielder.