IT IS very much one step forward and one step back for Guiseley at the moment, and manager Mark Bower is finding it maddeningly frustrating.

Just at the time when he is looking for his side to show consistency and put together a decent run to challenge the Vanarama Conference North’s top two of Barrow and AFC Fylde, the Lions are playing well one match and badly the next.

“You are scratching your head,” admitted Bower after home victories over promotion rivals AFC Fylde and Boston United have been counter balanced by Nethermoor defeats to Hednesford Town and, on Tuesday night, Bradford Park Avenue 2-1.

What has been even more galling for former Bradford City centre half Bower, apart from the fact that other prominent teams have been slipping up and Guiseley therefore haven’t cashed in, has been the Lions’ fallibility from set-pieces at either end of the pitch.

He said: “Last season we scored more goals from set-pieces than we conceded but this season it has been the other way around.

“I look at the defeats against Barrow 1-0 and Tamworth 1-0, the first goal against Hednesford and both goals against Bradford Park Avenue, all of which have come from set-pieces.

“We played well for 30 minutes against Avenue, but with them sitting back in their half and letting us have possession, we became a bit sloppy and tried to force passes instead of switching the play.

“Both Avenue goals came at bad times for us – just before half-time and just before the end – but it was a poor performance from us.

“Of course, opponents can score goals from corners and free-kicks but what is usually means is that individuals are not doing their jobs.

“Maybe our deliveries can be better but we have to show more desire at both ends of the pitch and stand up and be counted.”

With Gavin Rothery, Ben Parker and Oli Johnson all missing the midweek defeat against Avenue and set to miss out again at ninth-placed Solihull Moors on Saturday.

The team who featured at Nethermoor are likely to have an opportunity to set the record straight. Guiseley are also on the road again on Tuesday at Worcester City.

Meanwhile, the Lions’ young midfielder Jack Stockdill has joined Ossett Town on a one-month loan to get him some game time.