Hatters Seen Off – Lions Topper the League!

Match sponsored by Vivo Serviced Apartments

Following the Lions’ solid opener at Leamington on Saturday, Mark Bower unsurprisingly kept faith with the same eleven and subs, and it was an anticipatory crowd of 689 – bolstered by a sizeable Stockport contingent – for Guiseley’s first competitive home game of the season. The re-laid pitch still showed signs of wear, but the drainage had dealt impressively with the area’s recent monsoons.

The opening minutes were tentative as the teams sized each other up, but on 16 minutes some typically-deft footwork from Oli Johnson released Adam Boyes only for the striker to be hustled off the ball by Danny Gregson. A minute later, defender Ben Parker met Danny Forrest’s corner to shoot high and wide. The Lions were into their stride now, some neat triangular passing movements asking questions of the visitors, and several times only a hurried final ball let them down.

For their part, the Hatters were breaking in numbers but were finding the lately-formed defensive partnership of Parker and Danny Ellis in imposing form. Skipper Jamie Milligan was at the heart of most Stockport moves, and his corners and free kicks kept Steven Drench on his toes.

Boyes and Gavin Rothery, in particular, were proving hard to handle. Rothery’s effort from an Andy Holdsworth free kick was repelled by a Stockport head, Boyes headed over another Forrest corner, then miscontrolled an Ellis through ball. Next, Boyes’s shot was blocked on the line by Stephen O’Halloran, Danny Hurst failed to claim Rothery’s follow up and Danny Boshell fired wide.

Something had to give, and it did in the 37th minute. Some slick work down the Guiseley right involving Oli Johnson and Rothery saw the latter cut the ball back to the far post, where Boyes bundled it home. Five minutes later, Holdsworth’s free kick was met sweetly by Ellis’s right boot and the pressure was off. As the half drew to a close, Rothery broke through again and only an unwise final pass prevented a third goal.

Having repeatedly switched wingers Johnson and Forrest throughout the first half, Guiseley went a step further in the second, replacing Forrest with Wayne Brooksby at the interval and bringing on Nicky Boshell for Johnson shortly afterwards. Brooksby’s presence in particular placed added pressure on the visitors’ defence, and in the 57th minute he accepted a cute pass from Boyes to make it 3-0.

To all intents and purposes, that made it game over. Some quick wing-to-wing interplay led to Boyes’s heading over a certain goal-of-the-season contender, but in the main the Lions seemed content to run down the clock. Sub Jack Stockdill was given game time in place of Danny Boshell, and new signing Alex McQuade was able to demonstrate some neat overlapping skills unseen since Dave Merris’s heyday. Stockport kept at it right to the end, but the nearest they came to reducing the deficit was when Drench saved bravely at the feet of sub Jack Ryan.

So, another three points and equal top spot (with Ferriby) in the embryonic League table, certainly more than most fans would have predicted after the stuttering pre-season programme. County weren’t a bad side – perhaps we met them at the right stage in their development – but we won with plenty left in the tank. Let’s hope it carries over into Saturday’s encounter with our Nethermoor bogey team, Worcester City.

Guiseley Team:

1. Drench

2. Holdsworth (C)

3. McQuade

4. Parker

5. Ellis (Goal, 42)

6. Lawlor

7. O Johnson (N Boshell)

8. D Boshell (Stockdill)

9. Boyes (Goal, 37)

10. Forrest

11. Rothery

Subs: 12. Toulson

14. Brooksby (for Forrest, 46) (Goal, 57)

15. Stockdill (for D Boshell, 79)

16. N Boshell (for O Johnson, 56)

18. Dickinson

Sponsors’ MoM: Adam Boyes

Next Up:

7:45 pm
Pre-Season Friendly

Avro vs Guiseley