Injury-Plagued Priorymen Drop Into Relegation Danger Zone

Guisborough Town 1, West Auckland Town 3 (Northern League – Division One)

Injury-ravaged Guisborough Town suffered their third successive defeat against a revitalised West Auckland Town at the KGV on Saturday as West extended their winning run to five on the bounce.

Guisborough Manager Steve Dowling faced a nightmare scenario even before a ball was kicked with effectively an entire team unavailable mainly due to a lengthening injury list.

As it was, he had to field a makeshift team with some players like striker Matty Pennal and defenders Steve Roberts and Paul Weldon nursing injuries which would have normally kept them out of the game.

Roberts was unable to carry on after just 25 minutes and Weldon had to be substituted at half-time while Pennal lasted just under an hour before he had to leave the field.

And as if that wasn’t enough Guisborough’s injury woes were compounded with Thibault Charmey got a badly-gashed head which later required staples in hospital and he is now likely to be out for up to two weeks. The brave Frenchman did exceptionally well to stay on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

The old football adage that injury problems will even themselves out over the season seems to have no sympathy for Guisborough’s current plight as the beleaguered Priorymen have already suffered more player issues to last a whole season never mind barely three months!

Manager Dowlo and his backroom team must be feeling they are jinxed with the amount of selection problems they have already had to deal with so soon into the relatively new season.

After the West game a downhearted but determined Dowlo declared: “Where do I start to try and sum up today’s game when even before the start we were missing goalkeepers Ben Escritt and Ryan Catterick along with full backs Paul Roddam and Scott Oldfield, defenders Jamie Poole and Joe Ferguson, plus midfielders Gary Wood, Liam McPhillips and Chris Youldon not to mention striker Anthony Hume.

“With that kind of injury and unavailability list, it was always going to be tricky just to pull together 11 players. I spent most of my time since Thursday morning try to ‘beg, borrow and steal’ players and managed to get four in but then discovered three were registered too late. So it was always going to be a very tough ask today.

“The team I managed to field in the end did their best under the circumstances with Steve Roberts and Matty Pennal starting the game with injuries which caused both to have to come off after 25 mins and 55 mins respectively.

“Even then young Tom Bligh who replaced Roberts was also carrying an injury but he went on to put in a terrific performance.

“The positives for me were the performances of new ‘keeper James Dawson and Adam Cocks and Bligh who enjoyed good performances.

“But West are an experience side and that crucially saw them through to victory deservedly in my opinion.

“So it’s now on to Whitley Bay Tuesday with hopefully McPhillips and Ferguson back but Charmey, Weldon, Roberts, Pennal and Bligh are all still struggling but hopefully the young players from Hartlepool will be registered to play by then,” added Dowlo.

As far as the game itself went, despite all their problems Guisborough battled hard and bravely in the first half and went into the interval level at 1-1 thanks to a superb 30-yard shot from Paul Blake virtually on the stroke of half time which cancelled out West’s opener from Matty Moffatt, a smart volley in the 38th minute.

In the second half Guisborough were under the cosh for long spells and West took the points with excellent strikes from Darren Richardson on 53 minutes and Craig Ruddy in the 83rd minute.

Guisborough Town: James Dawson, Steven Roberts (sub Tom Bligh 25 mins), Paul Weldon (sub James Warnett 45 mins), Leon Carling, Jordan Galloway, Adam Cocks, Thibault Charmey, Stewart Bath, Connor Smith, Matty Pennal (sub Anthony Stevens 58 mins), Paul Blake.

Attendance: 141.

Photo: Guisborough goal-scorer Paul Blake skilfully turns his man to set up an attack. Pic courtesy of Yvonne Barker.