Guisborough Town 1 Bishop Auckland 2

GUISBOROUGH Town sank deeper into relegation trouble when they lost 1-2 at home against Bishop Auckland on Saturday. Fortunately for the Priorymen, all the teams around them scrapping for Division One survival also lost so Guisborough remain fourth from bottom – just one place above the drop zone.

Guisborough Town Manager Gary Forster described the defeat as “disappointing,” adding that his side deserved a draw but just didn’t do enough in the final attacking third. Hopes were high before the game when news emerged that Guisborough had re-signed their former prolific marksman Danny Earl from Shildon to add more bite to their attack, but in truth he had a quiet game by his standards, although got very little service from his team-mates.

Bishop Auckland were a strong, physical side who intimidated the Priorymen at times with their direct and sometimes strong-arm approach, giving Guisborough very little time to settle on the ball. Two players from either side were sent off in the second half – first Guisborough winger Steve Roberts got his marching orders for the second of two yellow cards in the 66th minute and then Bishop’s skipper Lewis Gibbons also for a second bookable offence in the 78th minute.

Guisborough had got off to the worst possible start when after only six minutes a poor goal-kick from Town goalkeeper went straight to Bishop’s unmarked Shaun Ryder in seemingly acres of space and he stormed forward to score with an unstoppable shot into the far corner. Bishop’s came closest to scoring again on 23 minutes when Christopher Salmon burst through and lobbed Guisborough ‘keeper Nixon but amazingly the ball dropped down on to the bar and was cleared.

The nearest Guisborough came to scoring in a disappointing first was in the 17th minute when a Brad Mills free kick dropped invitingly into the Bishop’s penalty area between Nathan Guru and Earl but somehow the ball ended going over the bar rather than under it! Then on the stroke of half-time Earl got in a good shot but it was saved. In the second half Guisborough tried to get at Bishop’s with more purpose but it was the visitors who doubled their lead on 59 minutes when following a corner winger Darren Richardson stabbed the ball home through a melee of players for 2-0.

The Bishop’s sending-off gave Guisborough some short-lived hope as they surged forward and won a penalty for hand-ball in the 82nd minute. Town midfielder Mark Robinson duly obliged from the penalty spot with an unstoppable shot right into the corner. It pulled the score back to 2-1 to Bishop Auckland but the Durham side played out the last 10 minutes or so without any further scares to take all three points and consolidate their third position in the table.

After the game Guisborough boss Forster commented, “I was disappointed with the result. I thought we probably just about deserved the draw but we didn't do enough in the final third. For a side sitting third in the table, I thought Bishop Auckland were poor. But we didn't manage their tactics well enough. We knew what they would be bringing but didn't turn it to our advantage”.

Guisborough’s next game is tomorrow away against Hebburn Town. Guisborough have been drawn away to Scarborough Athletic in the next round of the North Riding Senior Cup – tie to be arranged by the end of January 2019. Meanwhile, Guisborough goalkeeper Jordan Nixon was recognised for his amazing goal-scoring exploits earlier in the season when he won an ‘Outstanding Performance’ award at the Northern Echo ‘Local Heroes’ award in midweek.