2023 Starts In Defeat

Guiseley had their moments, but were ultimately undone by a clinical Bamber Bridge side in their first game of 2023, writes Cayden Sands.

The opening minutes saw a very defensive start that involved both teams shutting the other down quite well, though the Bamber defence were managing to catch Guiseley offside when they showed promise.

It took just over 10 minutes for the first genuine effort of the game to come courtesy of the Brig’s Fin Sinclair-Smith, who allowed the ball to fall to him outside of the box before unleashing a powerful low effort, but it failed to trouble Lions keeper Cam Mason and rolled safely wide.

The home side would capitalise on their strong start when in a similar situation, albeit at a different angle, the ball fell to Sheldon Green after being played in Danny Forbes, allowing the defender to hit a superb shot that easily had the beating of Mason and gave Bamber the lead after 13 minutes.

Guiseley clicked into gear after this setback and were nearly gifted an equaliser on 17 minutes after a defensive error allowed Lewis Whitham to test the Bamber goal for the first time, but the shot was met by a fingertip save from Felix Goddard.

Whitham was at it again five minutes later, receiving a through ball from Kwame Boateng before beating his defender and firing a curled effort, but it was far too powerful and sailed well over the goal.

Immediately after, Goddard was called into action again by a shot from Callum Chippendale for Guiseley, with the keeper saving the effort before the ball fell to Whitham, who failed to convert what seemed like an easy rebound for an equaliser.

The visitors’ momentum continued as the game passed passed the 30 minute mark, but there was little reward against a stubborn home defence, the only effort that got past them being a hit from Chippendale that failed to trouble Goddard and safely went wide and over.

Bamber nearly doubled their with their first real chance for some time on 40 minutes after a low cross from Sinclair-Smith was received by Issac Sinclair, with the first time shot resulting in a last gasp save from Mason, with the Guiseley defence able to clear away any further danger in the aftermath.

This would be the last major action of the half in a game that was still very much in the balance, with Guiseley unlucky to be behind having failed to beat the offside trap on numerous occasions, as well as missing several key chances.

The Lions persistence during the first-half paid off almost immediately after the restart when Kallan Murphy whipped in a cross that beat a pair of Bamber defenders and gave Whitham plenty of space to place the ball into the net which he capitalised on, levelling the game and giving the visitors a new wave of momentum.

The home side’s response to going behind was slow as they struggled to consistently get up the pitch and cause the Guiseley defence any issues, whilst Whitham used his fine footwork to continue to cause problems up the other end.

The hour mark came and went and the game was in a quiet period that neither side was looking able to break out of, though it was nearly brought to life after some poor distribution from Goddard nearly connected with Whitham inside the box, but the Guiseley man couldn’t get up high enough, and the ball went just over him.

It would be the 72nd minute when the hosts finally had a clear opportunity when after winning a free-kick, Paul Dawson would hit a ferocious shot that left Mason motionless in the visiting goal, but it would go narrowly over the bar, much to the Lions’ relief.

Following this, the momentum of the game shifted and Bamber unleashed a relentless assault on the Guiseley goal that was finally rewarded as the game entered the final 10 minutes when a corner from Sinclair-Smith was headed home by Dawson to give the visitors a well-earned lead given the run of play.

The Lions struggled to find a response in the closing stages and as the game entered stoppage time, substitute Andy Kellett’s deflected free-kick found the head of captain George Smith from close-range, but Goddard was there to catch the ball as it headed for the corner of the goal.

The hosts would hold on throughout a long period of added-time to start their new year with a vital victory in their play-off push.

Bamber Bridge 2-1 Guiseley  | Monday 2nd January 2023 | The Sir Tom Finney Stadium

Attendance: 559

Team:  1. Cam Mason, 2. Kwame Boateng (43′ Hartley), 3. George Smith (C), 4. Ross Daly, 5. Jameel Ible, 6. Ekow Coker, 7. Lewis Whitham, 8. Leigh Whelan (83′ Haw), 9. Kallan Murphy, 10. Callum Chippendale and 11. Courtney Meppen-Walters (76′ Kellett).

Subs:
12. Andy Kellett, 14. Angus Chapman, 15. Adam Haw, 16. Keegan Hartley and 17. Mohammad Qasim.

Next Up:

3:00 pm
Pre-Season Friendly

Guiseley vs Huddersfield Town