A County team minus Phil Jevons ,crashed to another disheartening defeat at Guiseley last night.
The result….0-2….was the same as on Saturday, and the defeat well merited on the balance of play, but it was by no means as abject as against their previous opponents- at least they kept trying, but it was depressing none the less.
Hardly anything came off for them, and the Yorkshire team were pretty much always ready with an answer when necessary to thwart them when needs must.
The 2 goals were contrasting efforts- the first the result of a dire defensive header by Scott Duxbury- put away by Jake Lawlor, and the second a marvellous bit of individual brilliance by Wayne Brooksby was worth the price of entry alone- a belter!
Not good then from a County standpoint, and the angst started early for those travelling over the Pennines as a massive crash on the M62 rendered the motorway un-useable until later that night.
The consequent late arrival of County at the ground, meant that the game was delayed until 20.15( an outlandish hour) finishing at 22.00( even more outlandish), and upon obtaining a team sheet it became clear that Jevons was neither starting or on the bench.
Dennis was starting, but even so it was a considerable shock. Platt was at right back in place of Fagbola, whilst Churchman and Howard returned at the expense of Lofthouse and Oates.
So….another shuffled pack, but then with recent results in mind, this was not wholly surprising.
The game started with County getting forward, whereupon Moses and Milligan lifted balls into the box-the first being dealt with easily by keeper Steven Drench, and the second was kept from Dennis by good work from central defender Danny Ellis.
There was work to do too for the County defence, and O`Halloran did well to blunt an early Guiseley raid albeit at the cost of a corner. He sorted the corner as well to underline my favourable opinion of him having switched inside!
Ormson was next to be tested, and he too did well- advancing quickly out of goal to deny Alex Johnson as he went for a long ball in the box.
Kevin Holsgrove( the M.O.M for me) then featured for the first time for our hosts, but after carving his way past a clutch of orange shirted defenders and laying the ball off inside, there was no one around to apply a finish and it stayed 0-0.
More good work followed from O`Halloran, and Dennis had a dip, without unduly worrying Drench, but it was not exactly a nerve tingler so far.
County looked to be resolved to work at their game.
Duxbury and Milligan getting forward nicely , well supported by the energetic Howard, and as a result there was a fair amount of activity in and around the Guiseley last third, although again none of it caused Drench any anguish- a Dennis header falling into his arms like a returning lover!
From the last action, Guiseley worked the ball clear to Kevin Holsgrove who twice probed County`s right flank with tasty runs.
Platt did well to stop him getting a cross over for the second ,and the subsequent corner was comfortably cleared by County, but already there appeared to be a danger to County`s peace of mind, and it looked to be Holsgrove!
County responded through Howard and Duxbury, but there was nothing like the threat about the moves, as was coming when Holsgrove and company were on the job, and the 24th minute rather emphasised this as Holsgrove combined with Gavin Rothery to set Jake Lawlor up with what looked to be a decent chance.
It did….but his firmly struck effort missed the target.
If that was a warning it wasn`t heeded as another darting run from Holsgrove saw him deliver the ball into the box.
That seemed to be the end of the danger as Duxbury awaited its arrival. The rest was unspeakably bad, as Duxbury sent his header straight to Lawlor who placed his shot neatly home!
We were one down again, but when things are not going your way…that`s the way they go, so County had to re-group and get back at their opponents, but their immediate response saw Milligan send a reasonably placed free kick right down Drench`s throat, and then spoil a half decent move with over ambition!
To make matters worse….Guiseley looked to be finding their feet now, but thankfully, despite some predatory work from Alex Johnson, the County back line looked to have re-grouped as required and settled.
Even so, it was worrying to see the free running Holsgrove on his travels down the left again, and his lay off was another neat affair too, only Lawlor`s finish was under par, and he lifted his shot a yard or so over Ormson`s bar.
County did try to respond, largely via the busy Iain Howard, but Battersby could not disturb Drench at all with the shot that followed.
Duxbury and Milligan did enough shortly after to win a corner, but again the final ball was somewhat lacking – Milligan lofting it to the far post where Drench caught it comfortably.
This was disappointing, but for a moment things threatened to pep up with the sight of Platt foregoing his defensive duties to gather the ball before sweeping into the box past 2 defenders.
It looked excellent stuff….and then it didn`t….as the shot that followed again went straight at Drench!
It was half time and time for an interesting chat with Harrogate Hatter and company.
Soon enough all the world`s ills were sorted in the allotted 15 minutes, before it was time for the game to recommence and me to realise I was starving and had neglected to sample the local cuisine. This was a big mistake apparently.
I began to realise this as delicious hot dog after delicious hot dog emerged from the catering unit- each one whispering seductively ” Eat me…eat me” as they nestled between what I told myself were slices of freshly made bread.
It was the hunger playing tricks on me no doubt and Jeff, the blogs roving Gastronomic Guru, did not improve matters after the game by confirming, with relish( the story not the roll that needed none), that ” the pork and apple roll was magnificent- quite the best I`ve tasted”
I digress……back to the game and after AL emerged for the re-start chatting amicably to referee Ricky Wooton, County were busy defending as a Churchman foul put them under pressure.
The kick was defended solidly, but another followed it as Lees was penalised for `holding` the tricky Johnson.
This was a better kick from the home team`s perspective, and for a moment it looked dicey for the orange shirted blues as Ben Parker charged onto it not far out.
2-0?……..no…..as Parker`s shot missed out by about a yard, but we needed to tighten up and quickly, instead however they continued to be teased by the wiles of Johnson and Holsgrove who by now were all but running the show!
Johnson and Lees, at this point, had an almighty tussle, which the former won.
His lay off from this was almost inch perfect and just required a tap in from ex Hatter Danny Boshell at the back post, but he somehow contrived to screw an awful shot wide of the target- truly a gynormous escape….could County capitalise on it?
The hour mark had passed by now, and with the cold creeping into my creaking bones -I had another of my Captain Oates moments- as the lights from warmth of the cafe tempted me away.
I resisted, but with crosses pinging over from left and right I wondered whether County would continue to do so!
Unfortunately Churchman`s resistance came via a foul, which again put us under the cosh. It also got him booked, but with the kick cleared easily enough , by O`Halloran, he will think that worthwhile.
The relief from the last action was brief, as Holsgrove launched himself on a prodigiously tasty run that saw man after County man melt away before him as he bore down on goal.
Then a brilliant shot followed it, only for Ormson to trump it with an equally brilliant save! Good stuff!
Did I say `good stuff` well…..it was, but County`s old failing of not being able to quickly clear their lines surfaced as the game went into the last 20 minutes.
It was not good and could have been worse, but Ellis headed over the bar with the goal pretty much at his mercy.
It was becoming one way traffic to a degree now and Platt did well to stop first Johnson ,and then Parker in quick succession, but no one could get near Holsgrove shortly after, and his latest shot was mere inches wide!
Oates came on for Howard for County, whilst surprisingly Guiseley switched Adam Boyes for Johnson who left to an ovation from the locals.
The action recommenced and County were grateful for the liners flag next as Holsgrove threatened.
Even I would have not given that one, but for Guiseley it did not matter at all because they quickly doubled their lead not long after! And…..what a terrific goal it was too- started and ended emphatically by Wayne Brooksby.
Little danger threatened as Brooksby latched onto the ball just beyond half way, but I began to wonder as he picked up speed and side stepped a man here…….another there……before tacking to his left slightly and taking aim.
His aim was true as well and a sweetly struck gem of a shot threatened to wrest the goal from its stanchions with Ormson but a bewildered spectator!
We were 2 down, and County could have no complaints with the score line, but they might have taken heart at the sight of Holsgrove being replaced by Danny Forrest with about 10 to go.
That said both the Guiseley substitutes looked lively, and a move between the pair should have resulted in a goal for Boyes, but he fluffed the chance when it was easier to score!
Then Forrest had a go himself and was not that far away with his effort.
I began to want to hear the final whistle, but was deflected from these thoughts with thoughts of County maybe…..improbably….. snatching one ( or more?) before the death.
They were trying to be fair, but Battersby`s run only ended in a corner….then another and it looked like no one could end our misery and get a decent finish in.
But then…..someone did as Moses fed Oates and he leathered a corker in on goal.
It was going in, and it was 2-1 to be sure but then it wasn`t as the goal bound effort smacked into Dennis on the line before being hacked clear. As I said earlier….when things are going against you……………..
County had to work hard to keep it at 2-0 in the closing minutes, before one blast of Mr Wooton`s whistle told us it was all over and we were pointless once again.
With key players missing, and others not wholly firing on all cylinders , we will have to keep working hard to maintain a decent mid table position at season`s end, and a degree of urgency is in danger of creeping in.
Nil desperandum…..here`s to Saturday and re-charged batteries!
County line up:
Ormson, Platt, Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses, Churchman, Milligan, Howard ( Oates 70), Battersby, Dennis.
Subs not used ; Lewis, Fagbola, Charnock , Moke.
Guiseley line up:
Drench, Holdsworth, Parker, Hall, Ellis, Lawlor, Brooksby, Boshell, Holsgrove, Johnson, Rotherby.
Attendance : 502
Guiseley 2 County 0
A County team minus Phil Jevons ,crashed to another disheartening defeat at Guiseley last night.