AS WEEKS go, Jonny Maxted would struggle to recall a more eventful or memorable one in his career to date.
The Guiseley keeper has saved four penalties and pulled off some miraculous saves in regulation play in league and cup games against Bromley and Accrington respectively, while experiencing deflation and elation along the way by virtue of two contrasting results.
Maxted, whose marvellous exploits helped the Lions make history on Tuesday by reaching the second round of the FA Cup for the first time following a thrilling penalty shoot-out win at Accrington, would be forgiven for wondering just what to expect next ahead of tomorrow’s National League game at Dagenham and Redbridge.
But what Maxted is clear upon is that the Nethermoor outfit have come on a ton in terms of their team resolve under Paul Cox, with that never been exemplified more than on Tuesday when they triumphed in the face of adversity after playing with ten men for 76 minutes against a side in the automatic promotion places in League Two.
The 24-year-old said: “The gaffer is mentally preparing us for the games ahead to keep us mentally strong. You can see the bond that the lads have got over a short period of time.
“As a new boss, you have to initiate the players and make them feel comfortable. The earlier you do that, the better it is.
“The main thing that the gaffer came in and said was: ‘You have got to be difficult to beat’. The results will come; just be difficult to break down and play against’.
“Results have come and you can see that. You look at the way we dug deep with ten men and we got the win on Tuesday.
“It was a special night for everyone – the fans, lads and the management.”
Given the unforgettable events of Tuesday, it is no surprise that confidence is coursing through the veins of Guiseley, as Maxted plainly acknowledges.
But while much of the talk has been about the club’s second-round trip to Mansfield Town on December 3 in the aftermath of a famous night in Accrington, Maxted is focusing on the immediate business of league matters with an away double-header against Dagenham and then AFC Fylde over the course of the next four days.
He said: “We can take confidence from the cup game, going into Saturday. We have got to look forward now and put the cup win behind us in a way and take the positives out of it into Saturday. You look at last Saturday and we can also take the confidence from that too.”
Maxted is seeking to round off a tumultuous week in fitting style this afternoon, although you suspect that, in his heart of hearts, he might just settle for a quieter afternoon and a positive result for 20th-placed Guiseley, all the same.
Maxted, whose goal was cruelly breached in the dying moments against Bromley seven days ago, after repelling everything that they could muster prior to that – including two penalties – added: “Tuesday was probably one of my best ones (displays) and topped Saturday.
“But there are plenty of games to go and I have got to keep doing what I have been to try and impress.
“We had ten men on Tuesday as we did on Saturday and were unlucky playing with ten men again for a long period of time.
“The boys dug deep and came away with the win. I know it was penalties, but it doesn’t matter.
“I have always fancied myself at penalties. As a keeper, you have got to be confident.
“If you are not, you aren’t going to save anything. Most of it is mind games, with a bit of homework in behind there. You have got to be confident.”
Eight matches without a win, FC Halifax, occupying 16th position, visit fourth-placed Sutton United.
A freescoring but faltering Farsley Celtic will aim to rectify their Evo-Stik Premier play-off bid on Saturday, as they head to Stafford Rangers in search of a first league win since early October, writes CONNOR CRAIG-JACKSON.
By contrast, play-off hopefuls Ossett Town can make it seven league games unbeaten with victory in their North League match with Skelmersdale United. Town will also be hoping Tadcaster Albion can emerge victorious at play-off rivals Glossop North End, while struggling ‘El Clossetto’ neighbours Ossett Albion host Kendal Town. Elsewhere Brighouse Town host close league rivals Atherton Colleries, while the South League sees Frickley Athletic try and cement their slender play-off position when they visit Market Drayton Town.
Pontefract Colleries’ bid to reclaim top spot in the NCEL Premier Division continues at Liversedge with Pontefract yet to lose on the road, while promotion rivals Pickering Town face a difficult trip to in-form Bottesford Town.
Both will have their eyes on Garforth Town’s tough fixture at league-leaders Handsworth Miners Welfare, while promotion outsiders Hemsworth Miners Welfare face a six-pointer with Maltby Main
Meanwhile Harrogate Railway need to do what all of Cliptone’s opponents have managed so far this season and earn a victory, as Railway host the bottom side looking to ease their relegation worries.
The top two collide in Division One as Yorkshire Amateur host league-leaders Knaresbrough, while Selby Town try to cling onto their play-off place at home to Ollerton Town.
AFC Emley host Bolsover with both sides seeing poor league form of late, while Nostell Miners Welfare face Emley’s latest humblers Rossington Main.