Welling United 1, Guiseley 0

IT WAS a losing start to Guiseley's historic first season in the top flight of non-League football but that statistic will forever rankle boss Mark Bower, who insisted: "I'd have been disappointed with a draw."

The Lions' maiden game in England's fifth division – the newly-named National North, formerly the Conference League – saw them playing at Welling United, who only escaped relegation last season on goal difference.

Bower's men created enough chances to win two games but had to make the long trip home without as much as a point.

The Guiseley manager said: "It doesn't matter what level of football you're playing, you have to put your chances away.

"If we had scored three or four of the ones we created in this game, I would still have been upset about the ones we missed.

"We were very unlucky when Tom (Craddock) hit the bar and we also had a stonewall penalty appeal. Their defender clearly handled Nicky's (Boshell) cross into the area.

"I went to see the referee at half-time because the lad had his arm up in the air. I told the ref that as I understood the rule, it was a penalty if the player had his hand or arm in an unnatural position, but the ref said it was handball but in his opinion it wasn't deliberate.

"Combine that with their goal, which came from a free-kick that I felt should never have been given, and it was a frustrating afternoon."

Summer signing Craddock was provider early on as he set up new recruit Zac Thompson but that effort was scuffed wide. Craddock then rattled the crossbar with a snap-shot after a neat turn.

Will Hatfield, another close-season arrival, was the next to go close as his long-range shot was deflected for a corner.

But the home side took the lead before the break when the contentious free-kick was delivered, headed back across the area and forced past keeper Steve Drench by Sahr Kabba.

Tashan Adeyinka had a couple of half-chances in the second half for Welling, while Bower made positive changes from the bench to try to get a foothold.

But despite the manager's best efforts, a stoppage-time effort that was cleared off the line in a goalmouth scramble was the closest his side came to an equaliser that was the least they deserved.

Guiseley had added midfielder Thompson and keeper Daniel Atkinson to their squad ahead of the match.

Thompson, 22, was released by Leeds United at the end of last season, having started out at Everton, while also spending a season on loan from Elland Road at Bury. He can also play right back.

Atkinson, 20, is also a former Leeds player, having left the Championship club last season.