Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Guiseley 3 – 1 Halifax Town; 09/03/11.


Last night's match saw Town in a semi-final. Ooh, a semi-final! And not just any semi-final, the West Riding County Challenege Cup semi-final!

*looks around to see the room suddenly deserted, one single bar stool swivelling on its own*

I can't blame everyone for leaving the room at that point. Neil Aspin himself had no will to attend the match, so instead we had Lee Nogan acting as an auxiliary manager. Aspin was off to watch how Marshall was getting on at Harrogate Town on loan, while I'm sure Nogan was eyeing up the better Guiseley players. Guiseley had just one of their players out from Saturday, when they lost 3–0 at home to Telford United, ex-Shayman Danny Forrest being unlucky enough not to play in such a prestigious cup match. On the other hand, this was an opportunity for us to start with five youngsters, so things weren't looking good for a Valley Parade cup final from the off.

Kicking off, a subtly curved and sandy Guiseley pitch proved a much better playing surface than the one at Harrogate Railway, and the game had all the pace you'd want from a Mickey Mouse cup match. After 20 minutes, resulting from an accidental handball, Scott Phelan got a penalty after winning a paper-rock-scissors with the forwards, and sent the 'keeper the wrong way. 0–1 Town. In the first half Guiseley were the better side however. Following an extremely good shot that just went over Phil Senior's bar, Darryn "Second Class" Stamp did what he never did for us, and slipped a daisy-cutter into the net. 1–1. The cold came in and we found ourselves outmuscled, Metcalfe failing to terrorise ex-Townite Toulson and 'keeper Drench willing to leave his net for balls we couldn't reach.

Young'in Callum Mead pulled on the number 14 jersey in the second half and played an intrinsic part in balancing out the game. On several occasions he'd beat their defense but never got the finishing touch. The shot power/shot accuracy section on his Top Trump card will for now have a question mark beside it, but he was the standout youth player for us last night. Their defense was almost worked out, and if we had Gregory up front as well a shot may have found the net. Something that didn't help was the ref' calling several offsides. In fact, he gave us barely anything as Guiseley managed to bruise us off the pitch. A few unnecessary yellows. This was the same ref' that ruined it all for us at Park Ave when he failed to discipline a Bradford team that took advantage of the fact, and last night he gave two more penalties, this time for Guiseley, and both times, unwarranted. The first was two powerful for Senior, and the second killed the game off in the final minutes and sent him the wrong way, following the cleanest tackle you'd ever see. Very poor showing from a ref' that seems to have an agenda. Aaanyway, an equaliser for us before the third penalty of the night would've probably meant extra time, and no-one needs that. The Guiseley fans that bothered turning up celebrated like it was a league win for them. We didn't mind getting knocked out, but it could've been a fair knockout and it didn't have to cost £9 for admission. They should be just slightly worried that their first team couldn't defeat our weakened team.

I've seen the ground described as making Farsley Celtic look like Camp Nou. It's really not that bad, just not up to the standard at which Guiseley see themselves. It's a tidy-looking venue with a great but small clubhouse and they don't even sell chips. Two small terraces either side of one touchline, and a small stand opposite. Next season this ground will need to accommodate at least 1000 for our visit, and it'll be tough even if they get this new stand built. The cold and rain didn't help matters in the second half for this spectator having not brought my coat along, but I found a Tonbridge Angels scarf in the club shop for £1 (my god I'm weird). It exacerbated my cold but after guzzling some Paracetamol I woke up feeling good enough to get to university, where I fortunately don't study journalism.

Guiseley AFC 3 – 1 Halifax Town; att. 235
Ground: 6/10
Pitch: 6/10
Programme: no point
Talent: don't know why I bother
Food: please sell some


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