Guiseley’s pride restored under boss St Ledger

Mike Fondop-Talom.
Mike Fondop-Talom.
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No prizes for guessing what former Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger would like more than anything else for St Patrick’s Day.

Namely a cherished derby win for his Guiseley side against visiting FC Halifax Town, and while he cannot predict that with any degree of certainty, he is promising one thing.

Sean St Ledger.

Sean St Ledger.

Specifically that the last thing that his Lions players will be doing is throwing in the towel despite a desperate season for the rock-bottom National League outfit.

A cruel late defeat at Bromley last weekend hammered another nail into Guiseley’s relegation coffin, but St Ledger still took plenty from the 2-1 loss in the capital and his sentiments were backed up by the evidence.

A largely consistent theme of St Ledger’s reign has been renewed heart and desire from those in Guiseley’s colours and while results have not significantly picked up, performance levels – in the main – have.

It is in that context that St Ledger drew considerable positives from last weekend, with the passion and pride in leading Guiseley that he is displaying on the sidelines being replicated in terms of the commitment from the players.

John Rooney.

John Rooney.

Everyone, once again, is singing from the same hymnsheet at Guiseley, with the squad tighter and more together.

That alone has not been enough to trigger a significant upturn in results, but is at least earning the respect of the Guiseley faithful.

Basement boys Guiseley, who have won one and lost three of St Ledger’s games in charge thus far, are 11 points adrift of safety ahead of tomorrow’s game, with fifth-from-bottom Barrow also having two matches in hand.

It is surely a case of when, not if, the Lions are relegated, but pride is slowly being restored and a positive result and performance against Halifax would be a further step in the right direction.

He said: “They are all huge games at the moment.

“I don’t think that there is any game which is smaller or bigger than the other.

“They are all huge games and me and the players are enjoying the challenge.

“While it is mathematical that we can still stay up, then we will keep fighting until the end. I think the fans, even though we lost at Bromley, appreciated the performance and that everyone worked their socks off.

“It is obviously a big game and we will do the work on Halifax to see how they play. But we will go into it fully focused and hopefully we can replicate the same kind of performance.”

In a cruel season which has seen Guiseley concede some telling late goals, a further grievous wound arrived last weekend, with a stoppage-time goal from Bromley’s Omar Bugiel dashing the visitors’ hopes of a point after John Rooney had levelled two minutes from time.

Guiseley’s spirit was all-the-more praiseworthy, given that they saw Victor Nirennold dismissed in the 70th minute, but still managed to conjure an equaliser. But the footballing gods have not been kind to the Nethermoor outfit this term.

St Ledger, whose side come up against former striker Mike Fondop-Talom, who scored the winner for the Shaymen in the 2-1 midweek win over Dagenham and Redbridge, tomorrow, added: “There were no real words for it. When you get the goal back and have got 10 men, you have to be a bit more resilient. But we have to look at the positives of the performance. It was a fantastic performance (overall).

“But at the moment, we are in a position where we need a win and points. I don’t know if we will have many more harder games this season than Bromley.”