Shildon 4, Guisborough Town 2 (Northern League – Division One)
Three first-half Shildon goals – all of which were eminently preventable – spoiled a spirited performance by Guisborough Town on Saturday and left them chasing a game from which they could otherwise have salvaged a valuable point.
Guisborough were without leading scorer Steve Roberts due to work commitments but they started the game brightly and for the first 20 minutes more than matched their fourth-placed opponents.
But then Shildon won a free kick out on the left – for a debatable foul by Tom Bligh which inexplicably resulted in a booking for the Guisborough midfielder – and Shildon midfielder Sam Hodgson swung over a high, curling cross which somehow evaded everybody and ended up in the net.
Guisborough equalised on 26 minutes when Louis Goldsack – looking back to his best after recent injury – headed the ball home following a great cross from the lively Lewis Maloney as Guisborough swarmed forward to create panic in the Shildon defence.
But as so often has happened this season, Guisborough surrendered the lead cheaply when from another free kick in the 36th minute fully 30 yards out Shildon left back Matty Robson hit a stunning shot into the left corner to make it 2-1. It was a great strike but questions had to be asked about the positioning of the Guisborough defensive wall to allow the ball to bypass them.
And three minutes before half-time Shildon went 3-1 up when their talisman striker Billy Greulich-Smith took advantage of some slack defensive covering to steer the ball diagonally across goal and into the far corner in what almost looked like slow motion.
After the break Guisborough gamely tried to get back into it and came close to pegging back Shildon on a couple of occasions, notably from the lively Goldsack who saw one 55th minute goal-bound shot parried away by Shildon’s former Guisborough goalkeeper Nick Liversedge.
Then on 76 minutes Shildon got their fourth goal when Adam Burnicle, looking suspiciously offside, rounded Guisborough keeper Jordan Nixon and tapped home into the empty net. Guisborough protested loudly – but they should have played to the whistle rather than stopping expecting a linesman’s flag to be raised.
With time ebbing away Guisborough substitute Mason McNeill scored a well-taken consolation goal, outstripping the Shildon defence to latch on to a great long clearance from Lee Bythway to steer the ball home in the 83rd minute.
As the final whistle went Guisborough’s players, team management and fans were left to reflect on what could have been had they not virtually gifted Shildon their goals and not taken better advantage of the chances they created for themselves.
The match attendance was 187 – which puts into positive perspective the attendance of 173 at Guisborough’s midweek match at the KGV against Whitley Bay, which brought a very welcome and fully deserved 2-1 victory.
Still photographs by Dan Clark and match filmed highlights by Ian Rose are available on the Guisborough Town Twitter site
Guisborough have no midweek game next week but are back at home next Saturday, 28 October (KO 3pm) for a vital relegation battle with Jarrow Roofing, who are just below the Priorymen in the table on goal difference.
Photo: You shall not pass! Guisborough defenders Brian Close (left) and Bradley Mills combine to thwart Shildon’s James Harwood. Pic courtesy of Dan Clark.