A dramatic afternoon of FA Cup football at New Linden saw a late twist, with the Owls producing a terrific comeback from a 2-goal deficit with 6 minutes left. Goals from Danny North and Scott Vernon ensured that Clee’s name will be in the famous velvet bag for the Fourth Round Qualifying draw.
With Josh Batty missing through suspension, Marcus Newell made three changes in the following 4-4-2 formation:
Goal: Dylan Parkin
Defence: Sam Topliss, Tim Lowe, Oli Donald, Paul Walker
Midfield: Lewis Collins, Jack Richardson, Alex Flett (captain), Jon Oglesby
Attack: Scott Vernon, Brody Robertson
Subs: Matt Bloomer, Danny North, Mark Gray, Laurence McKay, Craig Disley, Connor Southern, David Birch
A rainy morning on the coast had given way to dry conditions by kick-off and the pitch was in perfect condition.
It was the Owls who got the tie underway and the opening was cagey, as both sides looked to assess their opponents. It was National North Guiseley who had the first sight of goal via a header from big forward Odejayi but the referee had spotted an infringement. This was immediately followed by Parkin getting down well to palm away an effort by the same player.
After 15 minutes Clee threatened for the first occasion, as good work from Topliss down the right flank saw him produce a dangerous cross, which was smartly claimed by away stopper Green.
A scrappy stop-start spell followed as the whistle was heard with regularity. Moyo tried his luck from fully 30 yards but a watchful Parkin gathered before the Owls produced a fine move on 29 minutes. The in-form Oglesby received the ball on the left and evaded his marker to send in a skimming ball. Robertson was a fraction away from converting at the near-post but a defender eventually cleared.
Robertson then had the best chance of the game in the 34th minute when he found space in the box. However, his shot agonisingly hit the side-netting to the relief of Green, who was beaten.
As the half moved towards its conclusion, the Lions enjoyed a good spell. A diving header from Smith went only a foot wide and in the next attack, Parkin was required to make a terrific save to keep out Hatfield.
Jack Richardson was forced off injured in the 41st minute and replaced by Craig Disley.
With a couple of minutes to go until the break, the visitors did have the ball in the net. Once again, it was Hatfield who climbed highest to direct his header into the top corner. To the relief of the home contingent, Guiseley’s celebrations were cut short, as the referee ruled a foul that was not easily visible from the Buildbase Stand.
HT Cleethorpes Town 0 Guiseley 0
Whereas the first period had been interesting rather than exciting, the crowd was to be treated to a classic 45 minutes of FA Cup football as the underdogs refused to buckle to their highly rated opponents.
Once again, Parkin made a couple of excellent stops and Walker was also required to save the day with a last-ditch tackle. It was by no means one-way traffic though, with Vernon very nearly opening the scoring but he was crowded out.
Pressure was building on the outstanding Clee defence, with Oli Donald and man-of-the-match (as selected by generous sponsors GMB) Tim Lowe gallantly resisting everything thrown at them. However, a 2-goal salvo from Guiseley just after the hour mark looked to have settled the tie.
Smith sprung the offside trap and his precise cross was smashed home by Will Hatfield to the delight of the visiting fans gathered behind Parkin. Worse was to follow on 67 minutes, when a 20-yard daisy-cutter from Kingsley James found the corner.
Danny North entered the fray for Paul Walker, with the Owls needing to go all out in the final 20 to keep their Cup dreams alive.
It was now end-to-end and, with the game becoming stretched and open, Robertson rattled the crossbar after 74 minutes and, within 45 seconds, Hatfield did the same at the other end. Clee continued to commit more and more players forward, as they tried to set-up a grandstand finish.
With 6 minutes to play, a lifeline did arrive. A floated free-kick was superbly directed back across the danger zone by Donald and Danny North was on hand to bundle the ball in from close range.
The home faithful were in full voice, as they sensed that the Lions could now be tamed. The Owls were finishing the game strongly and, with the away defence stretched to breaking point, a deserved equaliser came on 88 minutes.
Excellent play by North got him to the by-line and, despite stumbling, he somehow produced a hanging cross. The ball seemed to spend an eternity in the air but Scott Vernon had ghosted in at the far stick and coolly nodded past the despairing Green from five yards.
New Linden was rocking and, with four added minutes, it was Clee who now looked the more likely winners. Loz Mckay came on for the final stages for Jon Oglesby but there was destined to be no more goals. Both sides left the field to applause and they will do it all again at Nethermoor on Tuesday evening.
FT Cleethorpes Town 2 (North 84, Vernon 88) Guiseley 2 (Hatfield 62, James 67) Attendance: 255
What a great effort from the lads to claw their way back into the game!
Felt that Guiseley were a big, strong outfit who also possessed some skilful players. We are far from out of the replay though and can go to Nethermoor on Tuesday with confidence.
Travel is available on the team bus for a bargain £5 – it will be leaving from Pattesons Glass (on Pyewipe) at 4.15pm.
The draw for the final qualifying round is live on Talksport2 from Wembley at 1pm tomorrow.
FA Cup – 3nd Round Qualifying (replay)
Guiseley AFC (away)
Nethermoor Park, Otley Road, Guiseley, LS20 8BT
Tuesday 9th October – 7.45pm (if level after 90 minutes, extra time then penalties)
Adults £10, Concessions (over 65s and 11-18) £5, Under 11s £1
UP THE OWLS!