Image Credit [Telegraph & Argus]
Guiseley AFC were made to rue missed chances as they exited the FA Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town. Despite a wonder goal from Alex Purver, a goal from Paddy Madden and a freak goal from Wes Burns ensured the Cod Army progressed on a freezing cold night in West Yorkshire.
The Lions, starting in an unfamiliar 5-4-1 formation, began brightly with Will Hatfield seeing an early shot blocked after some great work from Kaine Felix down the right-hand side. Kingsley James nearly sent the Lions fans into raptures just a minute later as his volley forced ex-Leeds United youngster, Alex Cairns, in the Fleetwood net, in to a good save low down to his right. Connor McAleny blazed wide for Fleetwood after good build-up play but it was Guiseley who were looking the dominant side, more than matching their League One opponents on the night. Felix was lively throughout and it was him again who created The Lions’ next opening; after a great pass from Rowan Liburd, Felix’s cross fell to Purver, who had his shot deflected narrowly wide.
It was then heartbreak for the hosts as ex-Everton youngster McAleny’s cross was missed by Will Thornton, with the ball falling to Paddy Madden who made no mistake from 8 yards. 3 minutes later and it was disaster for Guiseley as a poor back pass from Jo Cummings, combined with Joe Green’s sluggishness, resulted in a complete freak goal as the keeper’s clearance hit Wes Burns and rebounded in off the bar to send the Cod Army an undeserved two goals up. Nevertheless, Guiseley’s never-say-die attitude was again on offer as after a poor clearance from Cairns after some good pressure from Liburd, Purver delightfully lobbed the keeper from 30 yards, just 84 seconds after Burns’ goal. They were nearly level just before half-time as James’ shot went narrowly wide which meant the hosts were 2-1 down despite dominating the half, with a couple of sloppy moments at the back being punished by a clinical Fleetwood attack.
The start of the second half was quiet, with Fleetwood, no doubt having been given the hairdryer treatment from manager Joey Barton, looking a lot more comfortable. Guiseley introduced Lewis Walters and Louis Walsh to try and add some impetus, yet it was Fleetwood who nearly scored next. It was another defensive mistake, this time from Thornton, failing to clear the ball, with Green making a great save before Madden somehow hit the bar with an open goal from 8 yards out. Burns then fired over from 10 yards with Guiseley looking tired. Paul Clayton was then introduced and his header from a Niall Heaton long-throw fell to James, who had his shot superbly blocked from 6 yards out. Minutes later, after some great work from Walsh the ball fell to Clayton who couldn’t quite connect, and the chance went begging.
Fleetwood held on to secure a 2-1 victory but the Lions can hold their heads high after a magnificent cup run!
Gryphon Guiseley Man of the Match: Kaine Felix