Vanarama National League: Guiseley 1 Aldershot Town 1

GUISELEY stopped a run of four consecutive league defeats and earned a valuable point from the visit of promotion-chasing Aldershot Town but it felt like a defeat after the Shots bludgeoned a stoppage-time equaliser.

The Lions will not have enjoyed their Christmas dinner after having to digest that last-gasp leveller and they go into their Boxing Day fixture still second from bottom in the Vanarama National League.

Paul Cox’s men had started the game positively and it took them just ten minutes to break the deadlock.

Recent signing James Roberts had latched onto a good through ball and was brought down two yards outside the area.

Roberts and defender Adam Crookes were making their home debuts, and their league debuts for the Lions after featuring in last Wednesday’s Buildbase FA Trophy defeat at league rivals Gateshead.

Roberts took the free-kick himself, and the Shots keeper Lewis Ward just got a fingertip to it as it crashed against the bar.

The influential Alex Purver, who was rightly named man of the match, reacted quickest and lashed the rebound past Ward.

The visitors had two chances late in the first half to equalise, both headers from Bernard Mensah crosses, but both were over the target.

Both sides were forced into half-time substitutions, with Lions striker Rowan Liburd, who has now signed a permanent deal, having to make way for Mike Fondop, while Matt McClure replaced Bobby-Joe Taylor for the visitors.

Aldershot put in a lot of hard work but lacked a cutting edge.

The home side continued to press, and Fondop got into some great positions, but they couldn’t find the all-important second goal, and McClure snatched a point to keep the Shots in the play-off places when a cross deep into stoppage time wasn’t dealt with and he stabbed home from point-blank range.

On Boxing Day, Guiseley travel to Chester, who are very much in the relegation mire after yesterday’s 4-0 defeat to FC Halifax Town at The Shay.

Guiseley would need a win by the same scoreline to leapfrog Chester, who have played a game more.

Ahead of the game, Guiseley boss Cox said: “I think we’ve deserved more from both of our last two games, the Trophy tie and the Aldershot game.

“But instead we’re out of the Trophy and we’ve got one point when we looked set for three.

"There were a lot of positives to take out of the games, especially this one, and we’re not far off putting three points on the board.

“If the referee signals four, five or six minutes of stoppage time you’ve got to defend for that amount of time. I can’t fault the effort of the players one bit, their work ethic is fantastic, but it’s that one per cent.

“We need to stop losing concentration for that vital few seconds in a game.”

The 25-year-old Liburd joined Guiseley on loan from Stevenage in October, making his debut against Solihull Moors. 
In that time he has scored four goals in seven appearances.
Linked with Chelsea in his youth, Croydon-born Liburd spent four years in the United States at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia, on a football scholarship and won several awards, including the Sun Conference Player of the Year. 
On returning to the UK in 2014, Liburd signed for Billericay Town and then in July 2015 he signed a two-year contract with Reading. 

The front man joined Wycombe Wanderers in March 2016 on an initial one-month loan deal, and his loan was then extended until the end of the season.

Liburd then moved on to Stevenage in July 2016 for an undisclosed fee and was loaned out to Leyton Orient in January 2017 until the end of the season. 

At the start of the current season, Liburd joined Hemel Hempstead Town on loan.

* Guiseley striker Frank Mulhern, having completed one loan signing, has now gone to Alfreton on loan for a month.

Another young player gaining senior experience on loan is midfielder George Gomersall.

He has just finished a loan spell at Goole and will now join Brighouse Town for a month.

* Guiseley have agreed with AFC Fylde to play their Vanarama National League game at Fylde on Saturday, January 13 as both clubs have now been knocked out of the FA Trophy.

The game will kick-off at 3pm, and supporters who purchased tickets for the original postponed fixture may use those tickets for this game.