West Auckland Town 4-0 Guisborough Town
Second-half goals from Amar Purewal, Adam Burnicle and a brace from Alex Francis resulted in West Auckland moving into third place in the Northern League Division One table following a comprehensive victory over Guisborough Town in challenging conditions.
After a closely contested first-half, West opened the scoring on 63 minutes through Purewal, slotting the ball under Jordan Nixon to become the league’s joint top goalscorer along with Ryhope’s James Ellis on 15 goals.
Two quick-fire goals in the space of four minutes from Francis saw West take control before Burnicle added a fourth on 89 minutes with a sweet strike to cap off a superb performance.
Prior to kick-off, there was heavy downpours at the Wanted Stadium with 159 spectators braving the elements as West looked to make it seven consecutive league victories.
Inside the opening ten minutes, a major blow occurred for West as Adam Mitchell went down holding his hamstring and the winger had to be replaced by Francis.
The first chance arrived in the 26th minute as former Auckland keeper Nixon was called into action and made an incredible fingertip save at the near post to deny Burnicle.
At the other end of the pitch, Guisborough started to pose a threat and Shane Bland had to be alert to keep out Steven Robert’s low strike.
West carved out another opportunity on the half-hour mark as Francis whipped in a great delivery towards the back post only for Burnicle to be denied once again by Nixon, pushing his effort over the bar.
In the 36th minute, the visitors had a good chance to take the lead as Roberts found some space in behind the Auckland defence to drag his shot just past the far post.
As both sides got to half-time goalless, West upped their tempo for the second-half and almost went ahead via Purewal following Hegarty’s through ball though he could only place his left-footed shot just wide of the target.
With over an hour played, the conditions started to get worse though West were still battling on looking to break the deadlock and Lewis Dodds low strike on the edge of the 18-yard box was parried to safety by Nixon as Guisborough looked to weather the storm.
Though just three minutes later, West got their reward as Francis’s wonderful through ball picked out Purewal, who remained calm to slot the ball beyond Nixon to carry on his goalscoring form.
On 68 minutes, West doubled their advantage as Francis combined well with Purewal to volley his right-footed effort from the edge of the area in the bottom corner which left Nixon rooted to the spot.
And soon after, it was 3-0 with Francis grabbing his second of the evening with a tap-in following some great build up play from Burnicle and Purewal.
Despite the miserable weather, it was an impressive second-half performance from West and they sealed the emphatic victory with Burnicle scoring his third league goal in five appearances with a vigorous low strike after a clever lay-off by Denver Morris.
Next up for West is a highly anticipated local derby against Shildon on Saturday as they look to pick up a league double over the 2015/16 Northern League Division One winners (15:00).
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty, Price, Hunter (Morris, 85), Colquhoun, Snaith (c), Portas, Dodds (McKeown, 78), Burnicle, Purewal, Mitchell (Francis, 10)
Subs not used – Wearmouth, Coulson
Goals – Purewal (63), Francis (68, 72), Burnicle (89)
Guisborough – Nixon, Mills, Webster, Bythway, Lovatt, Crust, Roberts, Seaton, Hume, Lawson, Young
Subs – Marshall, Shaw, Parnaby, McNeill, Forster
Referee – Mark Ryan
Attendance – 159
Report by Harry Crowe
Photo by Andy Hodgson.