Guisborough Town 1-0 West Auckland Town
Headline – West suffer gut-wrenching defeat against Guisborough
Matthew Crust’s first-half solo effort was enough to seal all three points for Guisborough Town in a closely contested victory at West Auckland Town’s expense.
After a string of heroic saves from Tom Flynn in the Auckland goal, Amar Purewal had a goal disallowed in the 68th minute for offside as West excruciatingly extended their winless run in Division One to five matches.
Brian Atkinson made three changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with North Shields as Ross Colquhoun, Tom Price and Paul Connor replaced Anthony Bell, Danny Mitton and Nathan Fisher.
West started brighter as Adam Burnicle posed the first real threat 13 minutes in when he collected Liam Hegarty’s cut back from the right-hand side before blazing his effort narrowly over Ryan Catterick’s goal.
Flynn, who was superb all evening, made his first big save in the 21st minute as Daniel Earl connected with Mark Robinson’s sumptuous cross only to be left stunned as the former Whitley Bay keeper produced a phenomenal left-handed save to keep out his close-range header.
Though there was little he could do to prevent the match winner 12 minutes later, the move started through Robinson’s corner routine as Joshua Rowbotham rattled the crossbar with a thumping header before Guisborough would go on to punish a lapse in concentration in the West defence.
Former Auckland midfielder Steven Snaith whipped a dangerous ball back into the danger zone for Crust to attack and the ex-Billingham Town defender remained composed to hook the ball in the top left corner as West struggled to match the Priorymen’s intensity in the first half.
Both sides looked to gather the early momentum within minutes after the restart as firstly, Purewal struck his right-footed shot from distance over the woodwork only for Guisborough to respond moments later when Flynn was called into action with a smart save to deny Mason McNeill following a deep cross towards the back post by Robinson.
West stepped up their tempo an hour into the contest as a low cross out wide from Purewal was swung into the centre for Martin Grey Academy prospect Stefan Hornsby, who timed his run to perfection before Catterick came to the Priorymen’s rescue to tip it round the left-hand post.
On 68 minutes, West were inches away from bringing the scores level when Alex Francis’s right-sided cross was brilliantly nodded home by Purewal in the 18-yard box though the linesman on the near side quickly raised his flag to stop any brief celebrations.
Flynn pulled off another excellent save in the 72nd minute to keep out Sonni Coleman as the frontman raced in on goal only for West’s no.1 to divert his shot onto the post with a spectacular one-handed save and just five minutes later, Guisborough hit the woodwork once more as a free flowing counter attack saw Coleman square it to Robinson, though the skipper could not believe his fortune as he side-footed his effort onto the crossbar from the edge of the area.
With eight minutes remaining, West had one last throw of the dice in finding an equaliser and almost found one when Jamie Cobain got on the end of Adam Mitchell’s delivery and headed against the base of the post as the Priorymen held firm for a precious three points.
West go in search of their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon when they make the short trip to Newton Aycliffe (15:00).
Guisborough Town – Catterick, Snook, Robinson (c), Hawkins, Marshall, Rowbotham, Crust, Snaith, Earl, Coleman, McNeill
Subs – Close, Corner, Holdsworth, Taylor, Roberts
Goal – Crust (33)
West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Colquhoun, Cobain, Price, Mitchell, Hillerby, Francis (c), Purewal, Connor (Hornsby, 54), Burnicle (Hurworth, 83)
Subs not used – Dodds, M. Bell
Referee – Jamie Cann
Attendance – 303
Report by Harry Connor Crowe