THE COMEBACK FROM NOWHERE
Guisborough Town 3 Carlisle City 3 – Ebac Northern League Division One:
With the first half whistle only seconds away, I started to scribble some notes: “Carlisle will be disappointed that they’re not making more of an impact on the game but relatively happy that it’s only 1-0. Guisborough dominant but disappointed that it’s only 1-0”
With the last attack of the half Guisborough duly obliged by scoring a second. Little did any of us suspect that we were on the brink of one of the comebacks of the season.
The Priorymen set the tone from the start, with Jack Blackford the driving force down the left. His first cross bounced off the top of the bar and he continued to be their main threat in the first half. That was quickly followed by the opener. What looked to be a harmless ball came to Shaaban Mohammed in midfield, he wasn’t closed down and from 25 yards out hit a sweetly struck shot into the bottom left hand corner.
Carlisle continued to chase the game and were unable to sustain any possession, with Guisborough winning most of the 50-50 tackles and the first to any loose balls. More Blackford crosses created openings for the home team – one was knocked down by Joe Bartliff to Cole Kiernan who might have done better with his shot and another just too high for the No. 10 to get a clean contact on. Guisborough keeper Will Cowey was somewhat of a bystander for most of the half.
And then, right on the stroke of half-time Guisborough doubled their lead – James Frazer heading a ball back across the goal and into the net. The 2-0 scoreline was a more realistic reflection on the half.
For five minutes after the re-start it looked as though it was going to be more of the same. Another Blackford cross came to Kiernan and his first time shot was instinctively saved by Carlisle keeper Steven Townsley who managed to get an arm to the ball.
In the 50th minute Guisborough were 3-0 up. A header by Nick Hood was stopped by Townsley but the ball came back out to Mohammed who prodded the ball back into the goalmouth and City full back Kieron Olsen was unlucky enough to nudge over the line.
And then the comeback started.
And the architect of the comeback was No. 11 Jordan Palmer who caused as many problems as Blackford had in the first half. Two minutes after the own goal Palmer curled a shot round a defender, forcing Cowey into a save at full stretch only for the ball to land at Kingsley Grandison who planted it into the net. City had managed to convert their best attack into a goal to give them a glimmer of hope and a spring in their step.
A glimmer of hope turned into a fully blown resurrection in the 63rd minute. Grandison charged down an attempted clearance that Palmer crossed, with the ball tucked away by Alexander Cairns. All of a sudden, Carlisle were back in the game.
Meanwhile, Guisborough weren’t able to replicate their play and dominance of the first half, with City’s Ryan Swales and Josh Simpson with the upper hand in midfield.
The comeback was complete in the 85th minute. Palmer got on the end of a long ball; the No. 11 spotted Cowey off his line and lobbed him from outside the box, with everyone frozen as they watched the ball drop into the net. Remarkably, it was 3-3.
Guisborough will be bemused (to say the least) as to how they managed to let the game slip away from them. Carlisle showed real spirit to pick themselves up from a poor first half.
A terrific game for the neutral.