County Youth 1 Guiseley Youth 2 ; League Cup Round 3
We are indebted to County Historian Ian Watts for this superb account of yesterday`s Youth Team thriller at Woodley. In addition thanks go to Sue Corden for the excellent pics, and Graham Privett for a couple of sneaky, but unexpectedly good quality one`s .
Another decent turn out for this cup-tie with a fair number of opposition supporters mingling with the County fans, from whose ranks those who witnessed the previous night`s game at Hednesford were particularly glad of the clear dry conditions.
It was the visitors who built the first serious attacking move when a long ball to County's right resulted in a cross which the centre-half managed to cut out before it reached a waiting Guiseley forward. Guiseley did have the ball in the net soon afterwards from another move on their left but the scorer had already been flagged for offside. The first 20 minutes or so were delivering a game of few chances as the teams cancelled each other out before they reached goal scoring range. However, County did manage to warm the keeper's gloves with a long range attempt from Murphy.
|Leon Murphy( pic by Sue Corden)|
A nasty high ball into the County area gave Rigby some difficulties but despite being under pressure he managed to get it out for a corner that came to nothing. County then responded when an excellent free-kick was played into the box and set up for Cumberbatch, but just as he was about to shoot a defender managed to clear the ball.
Guiseley broke to the other end forcing County to concede another corner. The game was beginning to move from end to end as within a minute or two of Guiseley's ineffective corner County claimed their first from which Keeling found space for a free header which went just wide. Guiseley then maintained the pattern by looking to threaten but Murphy used his strength on the edge of the box to win the ball and bring it out of danger. County's best chance so far soon followed when from a Keeling throw in Samms suddenly found himself in space. Unfortunately he could not make clean enough contact to trouble the keeper with his shot
A spell of good passing work by Guiseley followed as they looked to find an opening but the County defence generally handled the pressure although their headed and booted clearances did not relieve it for long. Finally, they broke quickly and Cumberbatch forced the keeper to concede another corner. This went the way of all the corners to date. It was soon back to the other end of the pitch as Guiseley looked for that opening but strong County defence meant they had to resort to long range shots.
|Demell Cumberbatch( pic by Sue Corden)|
County's most worrying moment of the half came when Rigby threw the ball out to Keeling who wasn't ready for it and ended up fouling a Guiseley player around 15 yards outside the box. Guiseley played the ball deep into the box and the usually calm County defence seemed to panic briefly. They just couldn't get the ball clear with player after player trying to hack the ball out only for it to find a Guiseley player still inside the County box. Eventually Guiseley smuggled the ball through for a chance to challenge Rigby but he blocked the first attempt and the second. He looked to be beaten by the third but another County player appeared on the line to boot the ball clear and the linesman then relieved the pressure by flagging a Guiseley player offside.
As half time neared County forced a corner and came closest yet to taking the lead as a player, whose identity was unfortunately blocked from my view point by visiting defenders, saw his attempt hit the junction of cross and bar then come back out. That was the last action of the first half which livened up the longer it went on - promising an entertaining second half.
Virtually straight from the kick off came the incident that indirectly lead to County going behind. The referees assistant (or linesman as of course the role is still known to virtually everyone in football) with the Roy Orbison look had slipped to the ground and stayed down near the Guiseley bench. The referee was alerted and a lengthy stoppage resulted until he was deemed fit to continue. The County lads seemed to be doing everything right during the delay as they kicked the ball around whilst the Guiseley lads stood chatting. We found out from the near linesman that the problem was a painful wrist. Questioned by the County faithful if it was his flagging hand they were concerned to hear that it was. Could this mean he would have trouble with flagging the Guiseley players' off-side?
|Spot the Roy Orbison Impersonator( pic by G Privett)|
When the game kicked off again after the 5 minute interval Guiseley reacted best and quickly earned a throw in from which a mistake in the County defence let them in on goal. Rigby made an excellent diving full-length save from the powerful ground shot turning it round for a corner. However when the dead ball was played in deep to the back post two Guiseley players were lining up with no sign of a County shirt and they scored a simple goal to take the lead.
|Guisley open the scoring(pic by G Privett)|
This seemed to liven up Guiseley and they were soon on the attack again looking to take advantage of the strong breeze with a long range shot. In contrast the goal unsettled the County defence as they made a few uncharacteristic mistakes but by good luck or good follow up play these did not lead to any more challenges on the County goal.
It took a few minutes before County got their composure back and it came with a quality ball to Cumberbatch who controlled it and was using his pace to break toward the edge of the box when he was pulled back by his marker - who was clearly unable to keep up. The free-kick from a few yards outside the box saw the keeper forced to tip the ball over as Murphy took one of his trade-mark line and length pot shots at the opposition goal. From the corner Keeling's header from near the penalty spot went just over. Guiseley broke quickly shortly afterwards and a sign the composure in defence appeared to have returned was he quality tackle from Williams just as the move began to look dangerous.
It was back to end to end football at this time. Next to threaten was Cumberbatch who was set up by Samms but the Guiseley back managed to reach the ball first. He then created another chance for County with some good control but the final shot from the edge of the area went over. At this stage the Yorkshire side made the first substitution as County were beginning to dominate. Murphy played in Samms and he did well to find the space to free Cumberbatch. This time the keeper saved his shot and the Guiseley defence reacted quickly to prevent the follow up from resulting in a goal.
|Kiarno Samms( pic by Sue Corden)|
During a rare period of scrappy play there were signs the liner had fully recovered from his earlier injury as a strong Guiseley attack ended with the fluttering of his flag. This seemed to kick start the action again as back at the other end Nolan's hard work on the right was rewarded with a corner. As the ball came out Murphy had another long-range shot which brought an excellent diving save from the keeper. Kerrigan followed up to blast the loose ball home but he had already been flagged for offside.
Then Samms was mistaken for Usain Bolt by a County defender when what at first looked to be a good ball to the left wing proved the County man didn't quite have the Gold Medal winning pace needed to reach it. Samms did reach a good ball over the top into the area soon afterwards but his brief hesitation in shooting allowed the keeper to clear. The resulting corner coming to nothing in the light of strong Guiseley defending.
County now started to change things around bringing on fresh legs in Mather for Keeling and shortly afterwards Spibey replaced Kerrigan and going three at the back by pushing Murphy further forward. They were continuing to look for that clear cut chance whilst Guiseley were happy to line up with 5 at the back and attack on the break without being too adventurous.
The game went into added time and another County attack on their right finally produced the result they wanted. The cross was not the best but this might well have lead to some hesitation in the Guiseley defence. Samms did not hesitate though and blasted home from the penalty spot through the massed ranks between him and the goal.
As the watching crowd began to consider how the penalty shoot out would go, no extra time in this competition, Guiseley quickly realised that the earlier tactic of only attacking on the break was no longer sufficient if they were to guarantee a quarter final place. However it was bad luck for County that would eventually lead to the winning goal. A strong clearance by a County central defender hit the back of an unaware County midfielder on the half way line. This looked like it would let Guiseley in on goal but for another strong tackle by Williams. The resultant throw-in looked far enough out not to cause any direct danger but somehow the ball reached the back post where Guiseley managed to force it home sparking loud celebrations on and off the pitch. With virtually no time left County tried to respond immediately but calm defending from the 5 man visiting defence kept them at bay and any long balls in were mopped up cleanly.
So the cup run has ended but like most of the youth games this season it was an entertaining clash between two committed sides.
County: Rigby, Palmer, Murphy, Barker, Williams, Ajayi, Keeling (Mather), Cumberbatch, Samms, Nolan, Kerrigan (Spibey). Unused Atkinson, Livesey.
There was further bad news when the day's league results trickled through as County had lost their top of the table spot for the first time this season following the expected win for Gateshead (6-0 at home to Harrogate. For County it's back to the League next week with FC Halifax Town the visitor to their Woodley base.