Highway Men Cornered By Rampant Lions

After the disappointment of having to settle for a draw at Ashton last Saturday the Lions made no mistake as they bagged four goals against a Morpeth side that arrived at Nethermoor on the back of three consecutive league defeats, writes John Clements.

With only three players on the bench their squad looked a little threadbare and so it proved after just three minutes as a corner from the left was headed into the mix by Reece Kendall and Town’s Danny Bowler in attempting to clear could head it past his own keeper, Dan Lowson, to give the Lions a perfect start.

With Michael Afuye and Kofi Moore probing down the flanks and Kallan Murphy together with and man-of-the-match Prince Ekpolo winning the battles for possession Guiseley looked odds on to double their lead before the break as they forced a succession of corners which all came to naught.

Afuye nearly scored a second with an audacious piece of skill as he left three defenders in his wake but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net and shortly after his low free kick brought a good save from Lowson.

Two further corners produced no outcome but the visitors stunned the Lions as they equalised on 28 minutes through Sam Hodgson who latched on to a ball over the top which caught Ollie Battersby in no-mans land leaving the Morpeth striker to deliver a delicate lob over the stranded custodian and into the far corner to square matters.

The visitors then forced a corner but the danger was cleared before Nic Bollado nearly gave the Highwaymen a surprise lead but his shot across the face of goal was deflected behind.

Having recovered their composure and having forced another two corners the second one produced the desired result as Reece Kendall was heads above the rest to convert Leigh Whelan’s pinpoint cross to send the Lions in 2-1 to the good at the break.

Afuye started the second period as he had finished the first to put in an inviting low cross that Ekpolo helped on its way only to see it fly across the face of goal and just past the far post.

Not to be denied however, another corner caused consternation in the visitors’ defence as Lowson fumbled his attempted punch away and after he had blocked another effort Jameel Ible was on hand to hammer the loose ball 51 minutes.

And if that didn’t put the game beyond Town then Moore’s opportunist strike twelve minutes later did as he took advantage of some hesitancy between Lowson and his defence to nip in and take the ball round the keeper to score from an acute angle off the inside of the far post.

Still seeking to add to their tally the home side saw two efforts come back off the woodwork while substitute Liam Tongue fired in two range finders both of which were a just a whisker off  target.

The win sees Guiseley in seventh place but now only a point off the last play-off place and with at least one game in hand on the teams above them.

Guiseley 4-1 Morpeth Town | Saturday 17th February 2024 | Nethermoor

Attendance: 609

Team: 1. Ollie Battersby, 2. Ollie Brown, 3. Reece Kendall, 4. Leigh Whelan (Tongue 78’), 5. Aiden Walker, 6. Jameel Ible (C), 7. Michael Afuye, 8. Prince Ekpolo, 9. Kallan Murphy (Johnson 65’), 10. Luke Mariette and 11. Kofi Moore (Dawson 65’).

Subs: 12. Liam Tongue, 14. Gabriel Johnson, 15. Tom Denton,  16. Adam Dawon and 17. Josh Ashman.



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