Phillips Frustrated By Mis-Firing Lions

Guiseley’s goal drought continued against promotion seeking Gainsborough in a defeat that seemingly calls time on the Lions playoff aspirations writes Edward Robertson.

Manager Paul Phillips emphasised the importance of this match to his charges ahead of the game, but was left wanting by the performance.

“I’m questioning the drive and desire to go and do the horrible things. Their goal came a minute into the second half, we’d have done that to them eight times and still not scored. We’ve got eight games left now so let’s stay positive and finish as high as we can.”

On a cold afternoon the two sides produced a tense closely fought affair.

The opening passages saw both teams battle for possession, and the breakthrough, without either goalkeeper being seriously tested.

The Lions came closest to breaking the deadlock after 25 minutes when Barrow loanee Benni Smales-Braithwaite’s curling effort drifted wide of the post following neat interplay that also involved Leigh Whelan.

Five minutes later it was the visitor’s turn to attack as Joseph West’s long range effort was hurriedly scrambled away by Lions goalkeeper Cam Mason. The Guiseley shotstopper also reacted swiftly to pounce on the rebound before experienced Trinity striker Clayton Donaldson could capitalise.

A fractious first half drew to a close with Gainsborough player manager Neal Bishop being shown a red card as the players headed for the tunnel.

The dismissal seemed to fire up the visitors who came out of the traps brilliantly in the second half.

In the first minute of the restart, the Lions failed to clear West’s low cross which was deflected into the path of an unmarked Liam Waldock, who coolly slotted home to give the Holy Blues the lead.

Despite the setback Guiseley kept probing the visitors defence.

The Lions had a chance to equalise ten minutes later as a low cross from Scott Bakkor landed at the feet of debutant Isaac Assenso, however the Farsley Celtic loanee could only fire over the bar.

The chances continued to pass Guiseley by though. A well worked move between Kallan Murphy and Whelan released Lewis Hey, but the attacking midfielder, making his first appearance since his loan at Tadcaster Albion ended, smashed his shot over the Gainsborough bar.

A similar opportunity was again spurned by the Lions. This time Hey was the creator, when a floated ball into his feet was intelligently played into Bakkor who found space on the left hand side of the penalty area. The striker’s effort could only shave the wrong side of the crossbar though.

As Guiseley pressed late in the match, and the game opened up more, Trinity almost delivered the sucker punch. With minutes to go a mistimed pass from the Lions defence put Donaldson clear only for the former Bradford City striker to fire straight at Mason.

It was another afternoon for the Lions to forget with Guiseley failing to score for the third time in the last four games. The result leaves them seven points away from their play off target.

The Lions boss seemed to accept that, on the back of this result, making the playoffs remains a step too far for Guiseley this season. However, Phillips is determined to make the most out of the remaining games to come.

“We will move forward,” the manager concluded after the game.

“We have had a good look at these lads this year and we know who we want to take forward and who won’t get us to where we want to go. Now for the remaining games that we have got left, we will take each game as it comes, we will take a look at these players, make decisions on these players, regroup and make sure we have a strong spine in building for the summer and for pre-season.”

Guiseley 0-1 Gainsborough Trinity | Saturday 4th March 2023 | Nethermoor

Attendance: 505

Team: 1. Cam Mason, 2. Kwame Boateng, 3. George Smith (C) (88′ Gardner), 4. Ross Daly, 5. Isaac Assenso, 6. Mark Lees (59′ Hey), 7. Benni Smales-Braithwaite, 8. Leigh Whelan, 9. Kallan Murphy, 10. Scott Bakkor and 11. Courtney Meppen-Walters.

Subs: 12. Lewis Gardner, 13. Hagie Damba (GK), 14. Lewis Hey, 15. Oliwier Grzelak and 16. Miguel Valsau.

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