One of the qualities of a good team is the ability to grind out results even when not firing on all cylinders and such was the case tonight where three sublime goals put paid to a skillful and energetic Hinckley United side, who for significant portions of the game looked more like a side chasing a promotion place.
Manager Steve Kittrick sprang a surprise before kick off with the starting line up where Barrow loanee Danny Forrest replaced leading scorer James Walshaw who dropped to the bench. Defying their fifth from bottom position the visitors were straight out of the blocks and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 11 minutes courtesy of Sam Belcher who left Dave Merris for dead only to see his effort parried by Steven Drench, however, Lloyd Kerry was on hand to slot the loose ball home in the ensuing melee.
Belcher nearly doubled Hinckley’s lead minutes later but Drench’s foot came to the home sides rescue. Having been injured during in the goalmouth melee that led to United’s goal Drench was unable to continue and Karl Martens came off the bench to replace him.
With the Lions looking distinctly out of sorts it was left to powerhouse midfielder Warren Peyton to raise spirits when he robbed Andy Gooding 25 yards out and hit a cannonball into the top corner that left keeper Ian Deakin clawing at thin air on twenty five minutes.
The start of the second half saw some more energy in the home sides play but it wasn’t until the hour mark that the Lions finally took control as first Forrest put a curling shot just over the angle and then Gavin Rothery drifted across a defender, before looking up and striking a sweet shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. He then followed that with and even better strike from thirty yards with a rising shot that gave Deakin no chance just before the hour.
Not to be outdone, James Reid ran on to a judicious through ball behind the home defence and kept his cool to slot past Martens on 79 minutes and set up a tense finale.
But not before the game then took another twist as referee Marti Rawcliffe hobbled over to the dugouts clearly in pain and the game was held up for eleven minutes whilst a replacement official was found and kitted out. Ironically it was the same individual who responded to a similar appeal when the same thing happened earlier in the season.
Guiseley survived one or two anxious moments thereafter but the brace from Rothery proved decisive as they held on for the win that takes them back in to second in the table as Alfreton were without a game this evening and to within two points of leaders Nuneaton who surprisingly lost 2-1 at home to Hyde United.
1. Steven Drench
2. Ryan Toulson
3. Dave Merris
4. Warren Peyton
5. Danny Ellis
6. Simon Ainge
7. Gavin Rothery
8. Danny Boshell
9. Joe O’Neill
10. Danny Forrest (Walshaw 69)
11. Liam Needham
12. James Walshaw
14. Darryn Stamp
15. Simon Baldry
16. Luke Sharry
17. Carl Martens (Drench 25)