Seddon’s goal wins West Riding County Cup for FC Halifax Town

FC Halifax Town celebrate victory. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
FC Halifax Town celebrate victory. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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A fine extra-time strike from Gareth Seddon rubbed salt into the wounds for Guiseley, whose bid to claim a hat-trick of County Cup successes ended at a rainy Valley Parade.

The Shaymen proved the Nethermoor outfit’s nemesis in the Blue Square North play-offs recently, with Neil Aspin’s troops now having a second trophy tucked away in the cabinet as they provided the gloss to Sunday’s promotion back to the Conference after a five-year gap at Brackley.

For Guiseley, seeking to emulate the feats of the Nethermoor class of 1979-81 who won the competition three years running – it proved the stinging end to an oh-so-cruel campaign – in what could turn out to be Steve Kittrick’s last game in charge of the club after a five-and-a-half year spell. Kittrick’s future is set to be decided in the coming days when he holds discussions with the Guiseley board.

The decisive moment of the contest arrived in the 105th minute when veteran striker Seddon fired home a cracking curling shot worthy of winning any final.

Despite the widespread suspicion that Halifax’s players were all partied out after their stellar promotion highs at Brackley just over 48 hours earlier, boss Neil Aspin gave the competition due respect by naming four of the side who started the play-off final at St James’ Park in his line-up - defenders Ryan Toulson and Danny Lowe, along with Matty Pearson and Sean Williams.

Their exertions in Northamptonshire may have been considerable, but it was Halifax who had the better of the first period, hitting the woodwork in a couple of big let-offs for Guiseley, whose strong-looking side contained eight starters from their recent semi-final second-leg loss to the Shaymen.

The first scare for the Lions came early on when Adriano Moke came desperately close to a picture-book opener with his fine curling shot clipping the woodwork after he slalomed past Matt Wilson. Guiseley’s first salvo saw ex-Leeds winger Seb Carole test Phil Senior with a low snapshot before the unmarked Seddon embarrassingly fluffed his lines in front of goal following Moke’s cross with his scuffed effort easily saved.

Guiseley were the next to threaten with an intricate move involving Jack Rea, Gavin Rothery and Phil Marsh ending in the latter blazing a rising shot over on 35 minutes before the lively Moke fired wide at the other end.

Moments before the interval, Guiseley survived their second major scare when Seddon nipped in front of the stranded Drench before seeing his shot from a narrow angle hit one post and then roll across goal and clip the other in an incredible cameo of action before the Lions eventually scrambled the ball clear.

Guiseley had the better of the opening salvos to the second period, with sub Wayne Brooksby’s crosshot drifting wide before James Walshaw’s snapshot was deflected over.

Eight minutes after coming on, Town sub Josh Messer wasted a glorious chance to put Town in front 13 minutes from time, firing straight at Drench, while at the death, another Shaymen replacement, Alex Johnson, flashed a header from Jason St Juste’s corner agonisingly wide.

The same player nodded Moke’s cross wide in the extra period before Seddon’s exquisite strike won it.

Guiseley: Drench; Holdsworth, M Wilson, Bower, McWilliams; Rothery, Rea (Porritt 99), Carole, Marsh (Brooksby 46); Walshaw (Dale 70), J Wilson. Substitutes not used: Parkinson, Giles.

FC Halifax Town: Senior; Toulson, Bolton, Lowe, St Juste; Moke, Worthington (Messer 69), Williams, M Pearson, Glover (A Johnson 66); Seddon. Substitutes not used: Glennon, Abadaki, Wysocki.

Referee: Jamie Waters (Dewsbury).