Last Tuesday the Youth Academy ended their first ever season with a win, capping off a strong first year in the Conference Youth Alliance.
The Academy faced a tough task in the form of confirmed champions Gateshead, who also reached the last 32 in the FA Youth Cup and had only lost once this season. However, the Nethermoor pitch was looking great for the time of the season and the sun was shining so expectations were high.
Straight from the first whistle Guiseley came out roaring, and in the opening 10 minutes they had created a number of half chances, although nothing clear-cut. Gateshead were finding it hard to keep up with the pace of Luke Porritt, playing in an advanced role, while the hard-working Luke Robinson and the aggression of Hodgson and Marshall in midfield were giving them no time to play their usual possession football.
Instead, Gateshead were relying on the long ball up to their big physical forward and it was causing a few problems in the Guiseley defence. At half-time the teams went in 0-0; Gateshead would have been the happier of the two sides.
In the second half Gateshead came out strong but didn’t really threaten Josh Clark in the Guiseley goal, and just as it was looking as if Gateshead were gaining control of the game Guiseley broke the deadlock.
From a Gateshead corner the ball broke to Luke Robinson, who cleared the ball upfield to Ben Whitfield on the half-way line. After spinning away from the full-back, young Ben ran at the centre-backs and wriggled between them before calmly slotting the ball past the Gateshead ‘keeper.
Gateshead then had couple of chances to equalize, but the Guiseley defence stood strong. The Lions doubled the lead with 10 minutes to go after a corner dropped at the feet of Robinson, who struck the ball fiercely into the back of the net. After seven minuts of added time, the referee blew his whistle and Guiseley’s first season had ended in an excellent victory.
Coach Dave Currie said after the match, “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved with the Academy this season. Especially Phil and Kinnon and others including Adie, Roger, Bob, Bryan, Stuart and Sue, who have treated myself and the lads so well.
“Also many thanks go to the other members of the coaching set-up, Danny Ellis and Colin Seal. However the biggest thanks go to the players who have been a pleasure to work with throughout the season.”