Guiseley 2 Brakes 1: Guiseley claim the points but nothing can deflect from an improved display

Stephan Morley looks to maintain his sides forward momentum at Guiseley. Picture: Sally EllisStephan Morley looks to maintain his sides forward momentum at Guiseley. Picture: Sally Ellis
Stephan Morley looks to maintain his sides forward momentum at Guiseley. Picture: Sally Ellis
Against a Guiseley side still harbouring ambitions of making the play-offs, Brakes produced what was arguably a better performance than they had done in beating Stockport three days earlier and it was only an unfortunate deflected goal that was the difference between the two sides, writes Paul Edwards.

Having gone in front with virtually their first attack of the game, Leamington were always going to have their work cut out to retain their advantage. The hosts have been one of the leading sides in the division over the past few years and, after a shaky start to the season, they had been steadily climbing the table until the wet weather wreaked havoc.

Their Nethermoor pitch had clearly been affected by the winter rain with the ball barely bouncing up off the turf. But the surface held up remarkably well as both teams contributed to what was, at times, an entertaining watch.

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The Lions began on the front foot but Brakes stunned the home support, as well as their own small band of travelling fans who barely had chance to take their viewing positions before they were celebrating a goal.

Josh Hawker slipped a pass through for Danny Newton down the right and with keeper Steven Drench well off his line, the striker showed razor-sharp instinct to prod the ball first- time through his legs and into the net from just inside the box.

Buoyed by their early advantage Brakes pressed again. Matt Dodd won a free-kick on the right which was headed out to the edge of the box from where Craig Owen drove a shot over the bar.

Guiseley were threatening to get back into the game, however, and they were level in the 14th minute when Danny Ellis was allowed to rise unchallenged to head home a corner.

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Liam Daly had a great chance to put Leamington back in front when another free-kick from the right found his head right in front of goal, but he could only direct his effort straight at Drench.

The big centre-back came close again when another header from a right-wing corner was deflected inches past the upright, with Newton powering another one well wide from the resulting corner on the opposite side.

The livewire striker was causing plenty of problems for the hosts and good play from Peter Till saw him strike for goal again but the shot was well charged down.

Both sides were playing some neat stuff despite the sticky surface and Guiseley began to turn the screw as half-time approached, with Rhys Meynell stinging the palms of Tony Breeden with a low free-kick that found its way through the defensive wall.

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The decisive goal arrived three minutes before half-time, Kevin Holsgrove’s strike spinning wide of Breeden and into the far corner courtesy of a deflection.

Disappointed as they would have been to go in trailing at half-time Brakes were fortunate not to be further behind early in the second half as a vicious low drive was deflected just past the post, the home fans behind the goal thinking it was in.

Newton set about doing his best to drag his side level with a fabulous run from the halfway line which saw him take on and beat almost the entire Guiseley defence before firing just wide.

Alex Johnson’s shot was saved by Breeden before Daly fired wide following a Leamington corner.

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Paul Holleran threw on Ricky Johnson and the big striker was immediately involved, making a nuisance of himself and trying to hold the ball up for his team-mates in front of goal.

Newton curled another chance over, but possibly the best chance for Leamington to snatch something from the game came in injury time when Till beat his marker on the left to set up Owen for a shot on the edge of the box which flew over the bar.

Guiseley: Steven Drench, Andy Holdsworth, Rhys Meynell (Danny Hall, 90), Ben Parker, Danny Ellis, Jake Lawlor, Wayne Brooksby, Danny Boshell, Kevin Holsgrove (Adam Boyes, 77), Alex Johnson, Gavin Rothery. Subs not used: Danny Forrest, Oli Johnson, Stephen Dickinson.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Ryan Higgins, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Liam Daly, James Mace, Matt Dodd, Craig Owen, Josh Hawker (Ricky Johnson, 65), Danny Newton, Peter Till. Subs not used: Josh Green, Aron Wint, Lee Moore, David McNamee.

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