Guiseley 3-0 FC Halifax Town

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FC Halifax Town were knocked out of the West Riding County Cup after they were beaten 3-0 at Guiseley.

The Shaymen won’t be too upset not to be travelling to Selby or Ossett Albion in two weeks’ time as a makeshift Town side came off second-best.

There were some positives among the cameo performances, one of which was a second-half appearance by Neil Aspin.

But the game served it’s purpose as far as Town were concerned by giving some pitch time to those players who didn’t start at Alfreton and something akin to senior football to some Halifax under 19’s.

The links between these two sides were everywhere you looked, including the dugout; there were so many it felt more like a reunion get-together than a cup game.

These two were finalists back in 2013 but the fact that even Guiseley used the occasion to blood some youngsters says much about the competition’s lack of allure.

Arranging the game 24 hours after a league at Alfreton also says much about how much of an inconvenience it has become.

The flip side of all that of course is the opportunity it gives youngsters like Will Chappell and Jack Bradley, both of whom are seasoned veterans of the County Cup by now.

Other youngsters Joe Halford, Oliver Tyler, Sam Hillhouse and Jake Hibbs also got a run-out.

Johnson’s fourth-minute opener suggested it might be a long night for those young players, although Tyler’s night was cut short when he picked up a hamstring injury.

His replacement? Lee Nogan drew the short straw.

That meant an already unfamiliar defence featuring Jon Worthington at right-back now had Richard Peniket at centre-half.

Nogan brought a first save from Steve Dickinson with a decent snap-shot after a cushioned first touch; you never lose it.

Hillhouse caught the eye with some Adam Smith-esque bursts down the right flank and brought an outstanding save from Dickinson with a header across goal.

Both sides seemed to be enjoying a rare game with no pressure and created some good chances, with Chappell firing wide at one end before Phil Senior saved Danny Forrest’s shot at the other.

Forrest then weaved his way into the box before setting up Nicky Boshell to extend Guiesley’s lead.

Boshell then produced a delightful turn and shot across goal for his second of the night.

Selby or Ossett Albion in the next round looked highly unlikely now.

The game may have effectively ended as a contest but there was still a chance for the senior servants to press their claims for a start at the weekend.

Guiseley’s first-teamers were certainly giving Mark Bower more of a headache than Neil Aspin’s, although Danny Schofield and Jamie Jackson both showed their quality in patches.

Lee Nogan’s more experienced legs had by now dictated a move to the less strenuous role of centre-back, with Peniket moving up-front and at least offering some incisive runs at the Guiseley defence.

Chappell fired just over as Town put up a better showing since the restart, with Hillhouse continuing to impress, producing a stinging volley from Peniket’s cross that Dickinson palmed away.

Neil Aspin then brought himself on for his assistant manager and got one of the biggest cheers of the night before he was greeted with cries of ‘Who Are You’ by the home fans.

Hillhouse nearly got the goal his display had deserved but his thunderous shot cracked off the post.

Guiseley really should have added to their lead but Redmond Lee and Lindo Lamar both fluffed clear chances one-on-one with Senior.

Guiseley: Dickinson, Walker, Thompson, Fell, Snowden, Marshall, Johnson (Pilkington 68) Stockdill, Forrest (Lamar 63), Boshell (Wells 68), Lee. Subs not used: Wells, Butterfield, Drench.

Scorers: Johnson (4), Boshell (23, 33)

Shots on target: 11

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Halifax: Senior, Halford, Worthington, Tyler (Nogan 7, Aspin 69), Bradley, Hillhouse, Schofield, Hibbs, Peniket, Jackson, Chappell. Subs not used: Aspin, Halpine.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 3

Town man of the match: Sam Hillhouse