Guiseley 2 Altrincham 2

IT took a while to get going but the Saturday between Christmas and New Year turned out to be a cracker at Nethermoor.

With Guiseley looking to bounce back from their Boxing Day hangover, a 5-1 home defeat to Bradford (Park Avenue), they looked set for a comeback win after going a goal down, but visitors Altrincham snaffled a point thanks to a last-minute equaliser.

It wasn’t a robbery by the Robins as they had deserved something from the game, but the timing of the goal robbed the Lions of any feelgood factor from what really was an excellent second half performance.

The first period had been a quiet affair and ultimately ended goalless. Altrincham had started well but Guiseley got into the game more and more and deservedly reached the interval on level terms.

The Lions had a debutant keeper with Marcus Dewhurst between the sticks and, after a nervous opening, the young stopper, on loan from Sheffield United, put in an assured display, earning him the man of the match accolade.

The game really came to life in the second half, again Alty had started well and they broke the deadlock in the 50th minute. Ash Hemmings arrived right on cue to meet a superb ball drilled through Guiseley’s area and he steered it back across Dewhurst into the bottom corner.

That seemed to awaken the Lions but it wasn’t until Kayode Odejayi was brought on to partner Rowan Liburd up front that they really started to cause problems for the Robins’ defence.

There was a long stoppage in the 70th minute for treatment to Niall Heaton, he was able to continue and play re-started with a Guiseley throw-in. That led to a corner which Alex Purver took and Heaton headed home at the near post.

The visitors should have edged back in front in the 82nd minute but Hemmings inexplicably turned a low centre from Connor Hampson against the crossbar from three yards.

Just three minutes later the home side were 2-1 up. Good interplay between Odejeyi and Liburd set the latter free and he raced into the area. Alty keeper Tony Thompson came out to meet him and got a block in but the ball fell to Will Hatfield who drilled it into the far corner.

Just before three minutes of stoppage time was signalled, Hampson levelled as he drove a low shot out of Dewhurst’s reach as a low cross rebounded off a Lions defender.

Guiseley joint-manager Russ O’Neill was pleased with his side’s reaction from their drubbing on Boxing Day. He said: “We were under no illusions as to how difficult it would be, especially after our last performance, but even without out we knew how good Altrincham are as a team.

“They have knocked Bradford out of both cups (FA Cup and FA Trophy) earlier this season and they showed again today what a good team they are but our reaction from that last performance was pleasing and it’s a good point.

“We rode our luck a bit, they hit the bar at 1-1 and then we’ve gone one up and although it’s a bit frustrating that we didn’t hold on the get the win we did get the performance we wanted and that’s the winner for us today.

“What’s more frustrating is that we can put in a performance like we did against Bradford and then put in this one. That’s what’s frustrating us and we need to find that consistency that’s missing.”