The Academy bowed out of the League Cup to local rivals FC Halifax Town on Wednesday after a narrow defeat on penalties.
The first half was a relatively even contest, both sides creating chances but finding the goalkeepers in good form. However, the Academy defence switched off 39 minutes in, leaving a Town striker one-on-one with Luke Wilson, and he calmly swept the ball in low to put FC Halifax into the lead.
Between then and half-time the young Lions sprang into action, but they missed three excellent chances to leave the score 1-0 in favour of Halifax at half-time.
The Academy began the second half taking a stranglehold of the game but always had to be aware of Town’s hitting on the break. On 55 minutes a great move involving Redmond Lee and Jordan Hendrie ended with Luke Porritt sweeping home to equalise.
The game continued to be played at a high tempo and it was end-to-end stuff; on 75 mins the Academy team took the lead, Lee beating his marker and smashing a left-footed drive into the net from 25 yards out.
At that point the Academy team had control of the game, but credit to the Town lads for continuing to work tirelessly and play with purpose and quality. A late mix-up in the Guiseley defence resulted in a clearance hitting the back of a forward 20 yards out and it spun past Luke Wilson into an open net.
Matters got worse soon afterwards; a long ball deceived the young Guiseley defenders and a slight hesitation from Wilson allowed the FCH winger to pass the ball into the net with far too much ease.
After being 2-1 up with a few minutes to play the Lions were 3-2 down with the game into injury time but there was a final twist on 92 minutes when debutant Hendrie slammed home an excellent drive from 12 yards.
The game went straight into a penalty shoot-out and after the initial nine kicks Will Wells had the chance to win the tie but failed to beat the home keeper.
Sudden death ensued, and after every outfield player had taken a kick Josh Snowden’s effort was saved to send Town through 9-8 on penalties.