Guiseley’s thirteen-match unbeaten run ended with a 3-2 defeat away to fellow play-off hopefuls Hednesford Town.
Manager Mark Bower named the same team and substitutes as for the midweek victory at home to Gainsborough Trinity and, after withstanding a bright start by the home team, the Lions quickly fired themselves into a two-goal lead to silence the Keys Park crowd.
Pitmen keeper Dan Crane had already been tested twice by the 12th minute when Alex Johnson timed his back post run perfectly to slot home the opener from close range, and the visitors doubled their lead just four minutes later when another Johnson shot was parried by Crane, allowing Adam Boyes to hammer the ball into the top of the net from the edge of the penalty area.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Hednesford scored their first on nineteen minutes. The impressive Tom Thorley, who harried Guiseley’s defenders throughout the game, found himself in space on the edge of the area and fired in an early shot that left Steven Drench stranded as the ball rolled into the corner of the goal.
As Hednesford grew in confidence and began to press forward, a controversial decision to award the home team a corner from a stray shot gave them the vital opportunity to score the equaliser on thirty minutes. Paul McCone finished from close range as Drench could not claim the ball in a crowded area.
With the momentum now firmly with the home team, Hednesford completed their rapid comeback just four minutes later as both home and away fans thought Danny Glover was offside as he finished another rapid, direct attacking move.
The officials continued to court controversy as players from both teams went into the referee’s book before half time. After the break the game that had been so full of goals in the first half became an attritional midfield battle, and neither side created many chances on goal. Mark Bower made changes to his forward line and formation, first bringing on Kevin Holsgrove for the hardworking Alex Johnson, and then Danny Forrest entered the fray in place of Jake Lawlor as the Lions sought an equaliser.
There was further frustration for the visitors, though, as Holsgrove pulled up abruptly while running on to a long Drench pass, and he was withdrawn with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Oli Johnson.
The game ended much as the reverse fixture had in the Autumn, with the referee whistling for full time before the indicated minimum of five minutes had been played, despite the Pitmen having made a final substitution during that time. With Guiseley lining up to take a last corner, having at last exerted some concerted pressure on their opponents, the game ended, sending the away side to their first defeat for nearly two months.
Today’s defeat sees the Lions slip to sixth place in the Skrill North table, but still with one game in hand over fifth-placed Boston. Our next match is at home to Harrogate Town at Nethermoor on Tuesday.
2- Holdsworth (C)
6- Lawlor (Forrest)
9- Boyes 16
10- Johnson (A) 12 (Holsgrove) (Johnson (O))
12- Johnson (O)