A disappointingly low crowd at Micklefield Park missed a 9 goal thriller as Guiseley Red Lion progressed to the 2nd Round of the Haighs Bakery League Cup at the expense of Premier League opponents Halfway House. The attendance could be forgiven though as I am told that it was the famous Waltons lesbian episode on Sunday morning where Jim Bob walks in on Mary Ellen and Erin in an uncompromising position.
Guiseley found themselves in a similarly uncompromising position with 5 minutes to go in this match but unlike Mary Ellen, Scott Norton didn’t fire into the bush as his unerring shot levelled the game at 2-2 and took the tie into extra time.
The home team had started promisingly and it was quickly apparent that Halfway had a glaring weakness at left back. Buttons had started on the right but the more direct Brannie swapped wings with him. Scampering down the right wing like an excited Golden Retriever chasing his favourite ball, his blonde locks flowing in the wind the poor left back knew it was going to be a long morning. The opening goal duly arrived when a cross from the right reached Norton at the far post. Taking time out to stop abusing the referee he laid it off to Buttons who uncharacteristically smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
The sparse crowd settled back for another goalfest but it never happened. Halfway grew in confidence and had already gone ( reasonably ) close by firing two balls into the garden/ Kop. PC Machell, fresh from an undercover mission in Paris, showed great technique in retrieving these balls without knocking on the door too.
Halfway equalised when the forward tripped and bounced his way through some poor defending to slot past the exposed Graham. The tiny pocket of visiting fans were ecstatic. 5 minutes later they dropped their Bovril in disbelief as Guiseley were horribly exposed again and the ball was bundled in. I actually missed this goal as I was retrieving a ball that the Halfway centre half had brayed into next week when he could easily just have knocked it out a few yards. This was one of many incidents where he seemed to be in an one man competition to see how hard/high/far he could kick the ball. His effort to score direct from kick off was by far his worst effort though.
The interval came and with David Sutton at Carphone Warehouse upgrading his ear piece it was left to JT to utter some words of encouragement but he fell short in providing any oranges.
No changes were made but Guiseley nearly found themselves two goals in arrears but Graham came to the rescue to stop an one on one. It was the turning point in the match. PC Machell had come on and drove his Panda up and down the unfamiliar terrain of the left wing while Buttons moved up front. The Halfway keeper was building up a right sweat as Guiseley got closer and closer. 93 year old Smex went close with a far post header. Norton had a goal disallowed for offside. Leaning on the goalpost as he tapped in he was surely onside he claimed. Even the normally chirpy Parrie had gone quiet as it looked like defeat was on the cards.
However, the equaliser did eventually come. A brilliant solo run from Brannie across the park looked to be coming to a dead end until a neat flick released Norton who didn’t miss.
Extra time it was. The momentum was with Guiseley and the sense was that there was only one team going to win the game. Guiseley seemed the fitter team and the preseason work on Parrie’s Travelator ( well, that hill at Nunroyd ) was paying off. The only surprise of the third goal was that it came from a powering header. From Parrie. Rising quicker than his temper he dispatched a downward header ( Amokachi style he told me – see Everton 4 Spurs 1 FA Cup Semi Final ) to put the home team ahead. It was all one way traffic now and the goal that sealed it came from Brannie who swivelled on the edge of the box to fire home.
The second period continued in the same vein. Good work from Norton saw Parrie’s shot deflect off about 5 players before going in ( he’s claiming it ) and Norton completed his brace with a fine far post volley.
However, the shenanigans didn’t end there. Ste Mid will be sleeping better this week after his own goal from the previous work was usurped by an even more calamitous one from everybody’s favourite policeman PC Machell. Possibly distracted by Halfway throwing their keeper up for a corner or possibly because he’s not used to defending in his own box PC Machell sure played a mean pinball as he deflected the ball in via his walkie talkie to give Halfway a consolation.
The referee indicated there was 4 minutes to go but soon blew up as the assistant referee reminded him he’d Sky +’d The Waltons and he hadn’t been banking on extra time.
Next week sees another Cup game at Micklefield as The George 2nd XI arrive for a County Cup fixture. The winner of this tie will play Bradford City in the next round.