Report by: Cayden Sands

A Liam Hardy double punch ensured that Guiseley slumped to another disappointing result with a 2-1 loss to Matlock Town on Saturday

This defeat further damages the Lions’ play off hopes, though they’re still very slightly alive after certain results went their way.

The game began on an even footing and was having the makings of an exciting encounter, though despite some great moments from both goalkeepers, neither team could break the deadlock early on.

However, the Gladiators didn’t back down and took the lead on the 22nd minute following a cross from Tavonga Kuleya that found Hardy at close range, allowing the forward to tap past Ollie Battersby, much to the delight of the vocal home support.

The visitors recovered well from going behind, looking lively and keeping the hosts’ defence on their toes thanks to some good moments and some set pieces, but they failed to make an impact in a half that aside from the goal, lacked an abundance of big moments.

The most notable moment of this momentum being a cross from Callum Chippendale that took a deflection and looked to be going in, only for Saul Deeney to save his side’s blushes, making an important save that ensured Matlock stayed ahead as the half time break arrived two minutes early on the clock.

Guiseley began the second half strongly and managed to keep their momentum going, a factor that following another period of pressure would reap a vital reward in the 56th minute after Kallan Muprhy was brought down in the box to gain a spot kick that was tucked away by Reece Kendall, giving the Lions a big platform to build on and perhaps get something from the game.

However, the Gladiators regained their composure following this setback and had some good moments of their own that lacked a final product, something that nearly cost them when Gabriel Johnson found himself in an ideal position to shoot for the visitors in the 71st minute, but his tame effort failed to trouble Deeney.

Guiseley’s lack of bite in front of goal continued amidst pressure from the hosts, again gaining a good opportunity when Liam Tongue had a promising shot from distance on 85 minutes, but it ultimately looped up and over the bar.

Just as the game seemed to be over and with the teams sharing a point apiece, Matlock would steal a winner in the 93rd minute after a good move on the counter and some poor Lions defending allowed former player John Johnston to bite his old club and swing a cross into the feet of Hardy, who again tapped the ball in to secure the victory for the Gladiators and seal their safety, whilst leaving the visitors’ play off chances in tatters.

Matlock Town 2-1 Guiseley AFC | Saturday 13 April 2024 | Nethermoor

Attendance: 720

Team: 1. Ollie Battersby, 2. Luke Partington, 3. Reece Kendall, 4. Liam Tongue (C), 5. Josh Ashman, 6. Jameel Ible, 7. Leigh Whelan (78′ Denton), 8. Callum Chippendale (67′ Dawson), 9. Kallan Murphy, 10. Gabriel Johnson and 11. Ollie Brown (86′ Pratt).

Subs: 12. Tom Denton, 14. Adam Dawson, 15. Michael Afuye, 16. Luke Mariette and 17. Tom Pratt.