Lions Bite Back Against Tigers

Second half goals from Reece Kendall and Prince Ekpolo helped Guiseley come from behind twice to gain a 2-2 draw against Hyde United at Nethermoor, writes Cayden Sands.

This result, though it was fair, doesn’t do either side many favours in their play-off hunt. With them only being one place apart before the game, a fact that has slightly changed after it, though they remain just a point away from one another.

The Tigers got off to a dream start, hitting a lacklustre Lions side on the counter early before an impressive team move that culminated in a back heel allowed Harry Bunn the chance to convert the game’s first big opportunity, a task he delivered with ease, giving the visitors the lead in just the sixth minute.

The hosts recovered well from going behind and didn’t look stirred, enjoying a good amount of possession and keeping the visitors’ back line on their toes, but very few major chances came their way.

This would change just after the half an hour mark however, when after a conversation with the linesman, the referee awarded the Lions a penalty and a real chance to get back into the game. Gabriel Johnson would uncharacteristically fail to capitalise on the chance, his effort being saved by Sam Waller, much to the joy of the visiting fans.

This would prove to be the last big moment of a half that left the Lions frustrated, but with a point to prove after the break.

The second half began and it wouldn’t take the hosts long to draw level after Kendall delivered a ball into the box on 47 minutes that looked like a cross. The curl meant it remarkably managed to beat everybody in the area before finding itself in the back of the net, setting up an enthralling half going forward.

Guiseley kept their momentum going and looked the more likely of the two teams to take the lead at this point, but this would all change when a lapse in the Lions’ defence allowed a low ball to be played to the feet of Bunn on 58 minutes, with the resulting effort being smashed past Ollie Battersby to restore Hyde’s lead.

Despite going behind again, Guiseley’s positive showing continued and the side looked likely to get an equaliser. That finally came on 72 minutes after a good team move allowed Ekpolo to use some great footwork to beat the defenders before placing the ball into the net, once again levelling the game and setting up an exciting conclusion.

The Lions had more than enough chances to win it, but a failure to take them meant that both teams had to settle for a point on the day. A fair reflection after an exciting affair that showed just how good both sides can be as the play-off race picks up.

Guiseley AFC 2-2 Hyde United | Saturday 16th December 2023 | Nethermoor

Attendance: 634

Team: 1. Ollie Battersby, 2. Ollie Brown, 3. Reece Kendall, 4. Prince Ekpolo, 5. Aiden Walker, 6. Jameel Ible, 7. Tom Pratt (46′ Whelan), 8. Liam Tongue (C) (77′ Murphy), 9. Tom Denton, 10. Gabriel Johnson and 11. Jordi Nsaka.

Subs: 12. Kallan Murphy, 14. Leigh Whelan, 15. Courtney Meppen-Walters, 16. Jack Mason and 17. K’Marni Miller.

Next Up:

3:00 pm
Pre-Season Friendly

Guiseley vs Huddersfield Town