Lions do the job with punishing schedule in prospect

With the Lions facing the second game of a punishing schedule of seven matches in fifteen days Manager Steve Kittrick made full use of his squad for the visit of Workington this afternoon, with Andy McWilliams, Andy Pearson, Jake Lawlor and Kevin Holsgrove all given starts alongside Doncaster loanee Patrick Mullen and ex-Leeds United star Seb Carole, both making their home debut.

The new-look side got off to flier, creating two chances in the first five minutes, with Andy Pearson’s header just wide from a Mullen corner and Holsgrove bringing a good stop from Aaron Taylor. The ‘keeper then punched Mullen’s corner straight to Lawlor, who showed great technique in striking a sweet volley into the roof of the net from twenty yards to give the home side the lead after just seven minutes.

Stung by the early setback, the visitors from Cumbria responded as Phil McLuckie forced Steve Drench into parrying his effort. Indeed, Workington might well have levelled matters but for some woeful finishing from the several openings they created. For their part, the Lions’ game seemed to go flat as half-time approached.

Early home pressure on the resumption brought no reward and it was Jacob Hazel who went closest at the other end, bringing a good stop from Drench. A slick one-two between Mullen and Holsgrove then saw the Doncaster man flash a shot just wide, while Carole brought a good save out of Taylor.

Gareth Arnison was a whisker away from connecting with Hewson’s cross, but the home side wrapped the game up with four minutes remaining courtesy of some sweet interplay down the right. Substitute Zack Dale and Man-of-the-Match Jake Lawlor worked the ball inside to Josh Wilson and the striker played it back into the path of Dale, who shot beyond Taylor and into the far corner.

Carole then showed his class, cutting inside two defenders and knocking a shot just the wrong side of the post. However, the Lions sealed their fifth win on the trot, and with Brackley and Halifax losing and denting their hopes of overhauling the Lions for second place, it’s been a good day for Guiseley AFC.

Chester also won, putting them only three wins away from the title. To achieve second spot, the Shaymen are now reliant on winning their remaining eleven games (including two against Guiseley) and for the Lions to drop a further three points. By a strange quirk of fate, with games to come against Brackley, Halifax (twice), Altrincham and Harrogate Town the Lions could have a big say in who finishes in the play-off places, and whereabouts.

While Saturday’s defeat of Gainsborough would seem to have put paid to the Lincolnshire side’s play-off hopes old rivals Bradford Park Avenue are still in with an outside chance, especially after their win at the Shay this afternoon. It could introduce another dimension into the end of season play-offs, with the prospect of some spicy local Derbies.

Team:

1 – Steve Drench

2- Andy Holdsworth (Captain)

3 – Andy McWilliams

4 – Jack Rea (Meynell, 84)

5 – Danny Ellis

6 – Andy Pearson

7 – Seb Carole

8 – Craig Lawlor (Goal, 7)

9 – Phil Marsh

10 – Kevin Holsgrove (J Wilson, 66)

11 – Paddy Mullen (Dale, 82)

12 – Rhys Meynell

14 – Josh Wilson

15 – Mark Bower

16 – Zack Dale (Goal, 86)

17 – Jacob Giles