For the third season in succession Guiseley AFC Academy travelled to Brighouse Town. A tough game was expected as the Brighouse Town youngsters had recently drew with Yorkshire Amateurs 1st team and the West Riding County FA team and contained players with 1st team experience.
Knowing that Brighouse had a very attacking style the Guiseley youngsters went out with the intent to stop the opponents from playing and wait for any opportunities to attack appearing. The Academy lads carries this out with enthusiasm, fight and character – everything that the management has asked from them. The Young Lions suffered a blow in 20 mins when Lamar Lindo was taken off with an injured knee. Although Brighouse had the lions’ share of possession in the first half it was goalless at the break.
In the second half, Guiseley began to take control as the Brighouse Town team looked for Plan B. Just as it looked as if Guiseley AFC would break the deadlock Brighouse forward broke clear and scored to make it 1-0. By now it was raining heavily but this goal and the unfortunate rain did not dampen the spirits of the Academy lads and sub Dylan Palfreyman jumped at the back post to power home a Joel Thompson corner. As the final whistle approached both teams looked dangerous but glorious chances were missed by Guiseley to win the game.
In extra-time the Academy players had a look of despondency about them – maybe it was in their heads that they should have put the game to bed in the 90 minutes. Whatever the issue was it led to 2 goals from Brighouse Town, one a spectacular solo goal from England Schoolboy international Issac Baldwin. So with six minutes remaining it was 3-1 to Brighouse Town and all over bar the shouting; this wasn’t the view of the Guiseley youngsters who continued to battle to the end. This fighting spirit led to a goal from another substitute. Young Oliver Hulme calmly finished from 8 yards out to make it 3-2. In 118 mins Jonson Butterfield powered into the penalty box, glided pass the Brighouse Town full-back who slid in and caught Jonson – penalty! As the players looked to the bench to see who was to take the penalty Dave, Danny and Colin were in no doubt that 16 year old Aaron Fell, who had covered every blade of grass on the pitch should take it. As Jonson received treatment and things got a bit excited, Aaron had a long wait until he was summoned to take the penalty. Under extreme pressure ice-man Fell calmly put away to make it 3-3 and the Guiseley youngsters had came back from the dead!
The result now boiled down to the luck of the draw – a penalty shoot-out. Both teams scored their 1st penalties and Brighouse’s 2nd pen was brilliantly saved by excellent 16 year old keeper Luke Wilson, only for the linesman to strangely penalise Luke for moving. The retake was scored and momentum swung to Brighouse Town. With two missing for Guiseley and Luke making another great save it left it 4-2 on penalties to Brighouse Town.
A cruel defeat but one that will go a long way to developing the players involved. Of the 20 lads in the group 11 will be eligible to play next season’s FA Youth Cup and hopefully they can look back at this game and learn from it. The way they conducted themselves after some big decisions went against them was a credit to the club.
Academy manager Dave Currie said: “We never enjoy losing but we are very, very proud of those lads and although it may not feel that way now, it will help develop them as football players and as young men. Danny and I had asked them to follow a plan and give it every last ounce of energy – they done this and a lot more! We wish our hosts Brighouse Town all the best in the next round against AFC Fylde.”
The Academy’s next game is away to Altrincham in the league on the 6th of October.