Lions Spurn A Host Of Chances And Exit The County Cup

Guiseley suffered a 2-1 semi-final defeat at the hands of Knaresborough Town who ply their trade two divisions below the Lions in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, writes John Clements.

As with Saturday’s defeat to Ilkeston the visitors should have had this game wrapped up before the break but after spurning a glut of chances, they only had Tom Pratts 44th minute goal to show for their efforts. Even then the lead lasted only a minute as Town, who had gradually grown into the game, snatched an equaliser on the stroke of halftime through Danny Edwards.

Early efforts from Pratt and Reece Kendall were both easily dealt with by home keeper Tommy Brown and when Michael Afuye cut inside just before the half hour and put a shot in there was hope but again Brown remained untroubled.

Afuye was once again in the thick of the action as a cross-field pass from Adam Dawson set him on his way only to see his effort go behind after being blocked by a defender. From the resulting corner Tom Denton headed millimetres over the bar from six yards out.

Having absorbed all that Guiseley could throw at them Knaresborough responded with Edwards effort but he couldn’t keep his shot down as it sailed over for a goal kick. Then just as it looked as though the sides would go in goalless as halftime, two goals finally kicked the game in to life.

First of all Denton’s deft touch header from Ollie Battersby’s long clearance set up Pratt to steer the ball wide of Brown and into the bottom corner to give the Lions the lead. That joy was short lived however as Edwards fired across Battersby into the far corner on 45 minutes after the Lions had failed to clear their lines .

The second period started with defender Aiden Walker being shown a yellow card five minutes in and he was immediately substituted with Jameel Ible taking his place.

Buoyed up by their equaliser Town were now playing with confidence and hit the bar on 53 minutes as they pressured the Guiseley back line.

Needing to instil some urgency in to his team Manager Andy Welsh made a triple substitution on 62 minutes bringing on Jordi Nsaka, Kallan Murphy and Callum Chippendale to replace Tom Denton, Luke Mariette and Adam Dawson.

The changes added some impetus as the visitors went on the attack and Kendall was off target with a shot off his weaker right foot but for all of their endeavours it was the home side who came closest to breaking the deadlock when they hit the post on 75 minutes before the Lions cleared the danger.

Two corners in quick succession saw the first sail over everyone while Ible headed just wide from the second one. With the clock running down an almighty scramble in the home penalty are saw several shots blocked by some heroic defending before Guiseley themselves saw a shot come back of the bar.

Kendall couldn’t get his header on target from another Lions corner but it all counted for nought when Dom Creamer fired Knaresborough into the lead on 89 minutes to send the home fans into raptures and leave the visitors to think of what might (or should) have been.

Knaresborough Town 2-1 Guiseley AFC | Tuesday 27 March 2024 | Manse Lane

Attendance: 300

Team:  1. Ollie Battersby, 2. Ollie Brown, 3. Reece Kendall, 4. Luke Mariette (Jordi Nsaka 61’), 5. Aiden Walker, 6. Josh Ashman, 7. Michael Afuye, 8. Liam Tongue (C), 9. Tom Denton (Murphy 61), 10. Tom Pratt and 11. Adam Dawson (Chippendale 61’).

Subs: 12. Kallan Murphy, 14. Jordi Nsaka, 15. Sam Walters, 16 Callum Chippendale and 17. Jameel Ible.

Video and images here

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