Guisborough Town 0-1 West Auckland
Amar Purewal scored the only goal of the game as West Auckland Town edged a narrow contest to beat Guisborough Town.
Purewal’s decisive goal came on 11 minutes as he converted Tom Price’s cut-back to give West a third successive victory.
The result sees West remain in 10th on 47 points from 30 matches with just four games left.
Last time the sides met in November, West secured a comfortable 4-0-win courtesy of second-half goals from Adam Burnicle, Purewal and a brace from Alex Francis.
In the early exchanges, West enjoyed most of the possession and carved out multiple chances to break the deadlock – the best of which fell to Ross Colquhoun whose close-range header was expertly tipped over by former Auckland keeper Jordan Nixon.
On 11 minutes, West’s perseverance paid off as they took the lead following a darting run from Liam Hegarty, who picked out Price before squaring the ball into the feet of Purewal to tap in his 22nd goal of the season, remaining two goals behind Dunston’s Mark Fitzpatrick in the race for the golden boot.
Gary Forster’s side lacked the cutting edge inside the opening half-hour to bring the scores level as Thomas Marron and Mason McNeill both squandered half chances.
Meanwhile, West almost doubled their lead on 42 minutes as Adam Mitchell’s set-piece delivery was narrowly headed over the bar by Purewal as the Priorymen struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Guisborough’s best chance arrived just before the interval as Daniel Earl hooked his effort inches wide as Gary Forrest’s side were given a warning sign.
After going close just before half-time, West had another great opportunity to increase their lead on the 50-minute mark as Chris Hunter rose highestoutmuscling Guisborough’s defence, only to divert Mitchell’s in-swinging free-kick a whisker away of the right-hand post.
The Priorymen continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack and looked to grab an equaliser through McNeill, who was played in by substitute Steven Roberts, though the forward saw his snap-shot comfortably gathered by Shane Bland.
Heading into the closing stages, West were eager to add to the scoreline and came close on two occasions. First, Purewal saw his right-footed shot cannon back off the bar and a few moments later – Burnicle was presented with a one-on-one chance though Nixon was quick off his line to prevent further damage as Forrest’s side had to settle with a one-goal margin.
Next up for West is a League Cup semi-final to look forward to against Stockton Town on Wednesday evening (19:45).
Guisborough – Nixon (c), Snook, McAvoy, Close, Crust, Graham, Marshall, Robinson, Earl, McNeill, Marron
Subs – Howard, Hume, Young, Roberts, Mills
West Auckland – Bland, Morris (Bell, 55), Price, Cobain, Hunter, Colquhoun, Hegarty, Dodds (c) (Burnicle, 60), Purewal, Snaith, Mitchell
Subs not used – Dowson, Fisher, Heaney
Goal – Purewal (11)
Referee – Stephen Dial
Attendance – 209
Report by Harry Crowe
Picture by Andy Mitchell.