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 Post subject: Guisborough 2- 3 South Shields
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2005 7:44 pm
Posts: 75
My take on yesterday and recent weeks. The last month or so has been fantastic and a brilliant effort from Gary and the whole team...

An oft quoted phrase in football is that the table never lies. In the case of South Shields, after a blistering run which saw them rack up 108 points and finish as worthy champions, the phrase is particularly apt. But for Guisborough, who finished third bottom but look anything but relegation cannon fodder, the phrase does not seem so relevant. On the basis of the final ten games of the season, it would seem more appropriate to say that the league table does not always tell the full truth.

The King George V ground, glimmering in mid April sunshine, was packed to the rafters for this final game. For South Shields it was an opportunity to go out of the Northern league with a bang. For Guisborough, it was a case of trying to write the final lines in a script that would mirror the Great Escape. 5 weeks ago, any prospect of staving off relegation looked as unlikely as a Jose Mourinho smile. Yet miraculously, after winning 5 games on the spin, the prospect not only looked possible but increasingly deserved. Fate does not always lend teams who are fighting at the bottom the best hand and to play against a side who had not lost since 5th November last year and be asked to win was a tall order. The scale of this challenge quickly came into even sharper focus when Shields went in front with the game in its infancy. The raucous visiting support, already well oiled, moved up another gear as they celebrated another goal on their travels. Yet the home side were undeterred. Roberts - mesmerisingly good in recent weeks, got on the end of a wonderful cross from Onions to equalise. The visiting support were not exactly silenced, but their volume was certainly lowered. The sound may have lowered another notch had Roberts seen his lob land in the goal and not on the roof of the net only moments later. Games turn on moments like this. From the goalkick, South Shields slickly moved forward and their pace and movement saw them restore their lead. News came through that Washington were losing and there was always the hope that Guisborough could stage a second half comeback.

In the early stages of the second half this looked possible. Wood found himself in on goal and had a shot well saved and shortly afterwards Roberts delivered a perfect ball across the box which somehow evaded everyone. The moment that might have made all the difference was when the excellent Snook hit a rasping shot which was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by the visiting keeper. This was the third time in two games that Guisborough had hit the same crossbar. A lick of paint can literally be the difference. If the home side were musing over this bar, the one serving beer was still jam packed. The visitors intended to enjoy their league championship celebration and as the game became increasingly stretched Shields broke quickly and broke Guisborough hearts with a third goal to effectively finish matters. David Onions - Guisborough through and through and desperately determined to keep the club up in his last game - slumped to the floor. He and his team mates had strained every sinew, but had fallen just short. Still they did not give in - Goldsack once again belied his size and age to leap and head another Guisborough goal, but the season's remaining minutes had ticked down to seconds. There were contrasting emotions for the two clubs. It was wonderful to see a packed crowd and the jubilant visiting support cheered their deserving team as they lifted the trophy and no doubt cheered well into the night. There were will have been numerous sore throats and heads today. With the prospect of three more trophies in the three finals that Shields contest in the coming weeks, alongside the growing merchandise that the club now stocks they may be wise to stock South Shields alka seltzer.

For Guisborough, this has been not so much a season as a series of chapters. The close season chapter was one of summer migration, as several of the club's (and league's) best players swapped the red of Guisborough for the blue of Whitby and Marske. The early season chapter showed promise, but the end of the first chapter was grim. North Shields arrived and gave the Priorymen a pasting that nobody had seen coming. It knocked the stuffing out of a young side. They never quite recovered. A managerial change, with Gary Foster taking the reigns, helped to stem the goals conceded but despite improved performances and an excellent Boxing Day win at Marske, wins were hard to come by. Then two things changed - a clear spine to the team with Bythway, Poole, Wood and Onions helped to complement a group of excellent young players. Then the team won at West Auckland and belief and a team ethic followed. All of this has led to a feeling amongst Guisborough fans that the team is well set up for next year and with an excellent manager at the helm. Gary Foster is a thoroughly modern manager; there is a clear belief in the importance of youth, a clear game plan and tactics and a measured, calm approach to victories and losses. He is an excellent appointment and an air of optimism surrounds the club.

But the one big, central question is which division Guisborough will be playing in. South Shields' promotion, Norton's sad demise and West Allotment ' s precarious situation leaves a lot still hanging in the air.

South Shields will undoubtedly march onwards and upwards. They are professionally run and their well managed media machine released details of Little Mix's South Shields born Jade Thirwall's recent trip to Mariner's Park, clad in the club's new kit. From Little Mix to in the mix, they are bound to be up there competing in the Evostik league next year and good luck to them.

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