Guisborough Town 3, Billingham Synthonia 0 (Ebac Northern League – Division One)
Guisborough Town put further daylight between themselves and the Division One drop zone with a hard-earned victory over bottom-of-the-table Billingham Synthonia at the KGV on Saturday.
It was the first meeting of the two Teesside derby rivals for three seasons following Synthonia’s promotion to the top flight and the last time they had met at the KGV the Priorymen ran out 6-0 winners in December 2014.
This time it was a much tighter affair and the game was in the balance for the first 45 minutes but following the sending-off of Synners right back David Hillerby just before half-time tilted the balance in favour of Guisborough as they went into the second half.
Hillerby appeared to catch Steve Roberts with an elbow as the Guisborough winger chased back and after consulting with his linesman the referee sent off the Synners man.
There were prolonged protests from the Synners dugout and a member of their coaching staff was eventually excluded from pitch-side.
After the interval Guisborough brought on fit-again striker Louis Goldsack for defender Matty Lovatt and the change led to the breakthrough with Goldsack giving the Priorymen a 1-0 lead just after the hour mark, drilling home diagonally across the goal after good link-up work between the lively Lewis Maloney and Nathan Steel.
Guisborough then doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Nathan Steel side-footed the ball home cleverly to make it 2-0.
The Priorymen sealed victory and importantly all three points in the 75th minute when more great work by Steve Roberts wide out on the right resulted in a fine cross which substitute Mason McNeill tapped home from close range to make it 3-0.
The win lifted Guisborough into 17th position – four points above the third relegation spot and team manager Gary Forster was particularly pleased with the clean sheet his side kept.
He said after the game ruefully: “It’s about time we kept a clean sheet, but to be fair I think we have improved greatly defensively in recent games and this is an aspect we have worked on recently.
“We have tended to be a bit swashbuckling sometimes going forward and then getting caught on the break, which is something we are good at against teams.
“But we have put a lot of work in to resolve this and I think we are improving defensively all the time now as well as generally all over the pitch,” added a delighted Gary.
Looking ahead to next Saturday’s game at Team Northumbria, Gary said: “It will be a tough game there as they have started well following their promotion last season, but we will go there with confidence from our recent performances and we will be looking to keep that going.”
Guisborough once again demonstrated their commitment to community causes by supporting the Macmillan’s cancer charity coffee morning initiative and raised £113 from the sale of cakes. Guisborough Chairman Don Cowan joked that carrot cake never tasted as good after a 3-0 victory over Synners!
Photo: Guisborough Town’s official first team squad 2017-18.