GIVEN GUISELEY’S experiences over the past week, those Lions supporters who converge at Nethermoor for the home game with Alfreton Town tomorrow would be forgiven for not knowing what to expect.
Following a see-saw 3-3 draw at fellow National League strugglers FC United of Manchester at the weekend, Guiseley almost plucked defeat from the jaws of victory in Tuesday’s West Riding County Cup semi-final with minnows Barnoldswick Town.
After cruising into a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Will Thornton, Scott Smith and Paul Clayton, Guiseley inexplicably allowed their opponents to draw level before a last-minute goal – and second of the game – from Clayton saved the day.
That said, there was a hollow feeling at the final whistle, even accounting for the fact that the club had reached a cup final.
Co-manager Russ O’Neill was rather more concerned about his side’s inability to manage games, following on from the action at FC United on Saturday, when the Lions let slip a 3-1 advantage achieved through goals from Niall Heaton, Rowan Liburd and Will Hatfield.
O’Neill said: “We were 3-1 up on Saturday and we have not managed the game well enough and we did not on Tuesday and fair play to Barnoldswick.
“We nicked it in the end, but it just shows how momentum can shift, but we do need to start managing games better.
“It was unbelievable and I was fuming (on Tuesday) and thinking: ‘My god, what has happened here.’
“Ultimately, we cannot be three and four-nil up every week, we have got to man up and manage games better and it is something we have spoken about.
“We will see what Saturday brings. But we have gone from (last) Saturday to Tuesday exactly the same and we need to learn to manage games better and learn from it.”
Guiseley’s injury count has been added to ahead of the game with O’Neill’s former club Alfreton, with Smith coming off just before half-time in midweek with a knee injury, which saw him go to hospital.
Andy Halls also suffered a nasty knock in the cup victory and is unlikely to feature.