Shaymen’s desire takes them into play-off final

For the second successive season, Guiseley exited the Blue Square North Play-offs at the Semi-Final stage against an FC Halifax team that showed more commitment and desire for promotion.

In a tense and nervous first 45 minutes, Andy Pearson was booked for what looked like an innocuous challenge before Matt Wilson made a timely interception to deny Alex Johnson. Danny Ellis put a header over from a corner, and Rhys Meynell should have done better with his cross when set free on the left flank. Then, James Walshaw was just too far over to get a decisive finish to Gavin Rothery’s cross.

When Walshaw robbed Matty Pearson and put Josh Wilson in on goal he was stopped in his tracks as Liam Hogan grabbed a handful of shirt, but referee Wigglesworth showed him only a yellow card.

Dan Gardner delivered a tantalising cross to the far post that found no takers, but the visiting striker did better on 51 minutes when a long clearance down the left found Matty Pearson, who crossed for Gardner to apply the finishing touch and give Town the lead.

Johnson put a half-chance over the bar and Matt Wilson came to his side’s rescue again after Steve Drench had been left in no-man’s land, then Johnson’s shot looked to all intents and purposes to have wrapped it up for the Shaymen but for the centre back’s last-ditch clearance off the line.

Gardner was booked for a two-footed tackle on Rothery, then he and Lee Gregory went close while Josh Wilson’s effort would have been turned in by Walshaw but for a deflection off a defender. Gregory wrapped it up when he pressurised Andy Pearson, stole the ball and jinked past the on-loan defender and Matt Wilson before firing into the top corner, giving Drench no chance.

Straight from the restart the Lions should have reduced the deficit when Aaron Hardy’s cross found Walshaw with the goal at his mercy, but the striker scuffed his shot and the chance was lost.  Even then, Matt Glennon had time to make a stunning stop before the Lions’ quest to reach the Conference Premier was brought to an end for another season.

Team:

1 – Steve Drench

2 – Aaron Hardy

3 – Rhys Meynell

4 – Andy Pearson

5 – Danny Ellis (Carole, 75)

6 – Matt Wilson

7 – Jack Rea

8 – Andy Holdsworth (Captain)

9 – Josh Wilson

10 – James Walshaw

11 – Gavin Rothery

12 – Mark Bower

14 – Jake Lawlor

15 – Seb Carole

16 – Phil Marsh

18 – Jacob Giles