Accrington Stanley 1 Guiseley 1 (AET - 1-1 90 mins, Guiseley win 4-3 pens)
FOR an incurable FA Cup romantic like Paul Cox, last night truly had a bit of everything.
The competition’s enchantment was in danger of being temporarily lost on the Guiseley manager when his hopes of securing a nostalgic trip to former club Mansfield Town seeming to disappear into the ether following the hugely controversial dismissal of Chris M’Boungou for two quick-fire bookings in the space of six minutes just before the interval.
A 47th-minute opener from home captain Sean McConville deepened the sense of injustice.
But in cup football, it is never over until it is over and a captivating Roses tie against Accrington that few supporters of both clubs will ever forget still had a chapter or two to pen.
Ten-man Guiseley somehow drew upon their reserves of character to summon up a response of valour and bloody-minded defiance against Stanley on a breathless evening when elements of the sublime and the ridiculous were both on show.
More of the bizarre from Surrey-based official Charles Breakspear saw him take centre stage for a second time 11 minutes from time when he pointed to the spot for a perceived offence committed by the hosts’ Jordan Thorniley in a crowded box –with many in attendance unsure what quite happened.
Substitute John Rooney was not about to pass up such a gift and steered the ball home past Aaron Chapman to restore parity – and after making it to extra time, ten-man Guiseley somehow, magnificently, survived for the penalty shoot-out.
The stage was set for a hero and Jonny Maxted came through for Guiseley, making saves to deny Billy Kee and Scott Brown to create history for the Lions who booked a second-round berth in the cup for the first time ever.
For Cox, a sentimental return to Field Mill is now a joyous reality.
It was left to Mike Fondop to jubilantly fire home the winning penalty for the visitors, with Rooney, Andy Haworth and Connor Brown also find the net for Cox’s men.
The tone for an intoxicating night in keeping with the first-class entertainment at Nethermoor was set in the first few minutes when Aaron Chapman produced a reprise of his inspired heroics in West Yorkshire to turn away Jean-Yves Niate’s fierce effort before played switched to the other end, with Mark Hughes clipping the bar with a firm header.
How there were no goals at the interval was an unfathomable mystery.
The hosts hit the woodwork on three occasions and saw a goal ruled out for offside, while Chapman also produced another blinding save right out of the top-drawer to turn away Jake Lawlor’s low goalbound effort
Both sides were painted in a thoroughly positive light, but sadly, the main talking point at the interval was a controversial one following the dismissal of M’Boungou just before the break, with his second booking looking particularly harsh as he appeared to slip into Mehki McLeod. A floodlight failure saw one light go out in the first half, but thankfully Guiseley’s hopes just about reminded intact in a half that had everything apart from a goal.
The Lions’ goal lead a charmed life with a key touch by Brown diverted McConville’s goalbound strike after he rounded Maxted before ex-Guiseley Juniors player Kayden Jackson saw his low shot cannon off the post.
A remarkable one-handed parry from Maxted then somehow kept out Hughes’ header before the action continued with Kee’s effort ruled out for an infringement.
There was still time in a breathless first-half finale for Kee to head against the bar before M’Boungou saw red – with the interval whistle yielding a chorus of boos from the visiting support in the direction of Breakspear.
McConville’s cool header opened the scoring from Callum Johnson’s centre and looked like being the precursor to a routine evening at least. Not a bit of it. Fondop somehow managed to fire over an open net just after the hour, but Guiseley found a lifeline courtesy of Breakspear – and Rooney.
Maxted came into his own in extra time, making brilliant saves to deny McConville twice, while an assistant’s flag ruled out a home goal after Darren Holden put through his own net under pressure. Somehow, magically, Guiseley made it to penalties, despite playing 76 minutes with 10 men. And there was further drama to come.
Accrington Stanley: Chapman; Donacien, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Thorniley; Sousa (Leacock-McLeod 10, Wilks 90) Jackson (S Brown 80), Nolan, McConville; Kee, Jackson. Substitutes unused: Forbes, Edwards, Rawson, Conneely.
Guiseley: Maxted; C Brown, Niate, M’Boungou, Holden; Hurst (McFadzean 107), Lawlor, Lenighan, Molyneux (Haworth 88); Odejayi (Rooney 45), Fondop. Substitutes unused: Green, Lowe, Thompson, Correira.
Referee: C Breakspear (Surrey).