FC United slumped to a second defeat in three days, this time away to title contenders Guiseley, going down to an early penalty and a second goal from the well organised home side on the hour mark.
United striker Ben Deegan was also dismissed for two bookable offences for the second time in as many games and will be suspended for at least the next four games.
With a pre-match buzz amongst the travelling Reds at Nethermoor, surrounding this week’s stadium announcement, United would have been looking to bounce back on the pitch, following a heavy midweek home defeat.
The FC line-up remained much the same as that of Wednesday night, with the exception of Chris Ovington, coming into the side to make his first start for the Reds.
It was Guiseley who started the stronger of the two teams, having the majority of the attacking play and forcing FC to sit deep and defend in the opening stages of the half.
Just past the 10 minute mark FC were left chasing the game. A cross in from the right to the far side of the United 18 yard box was met by striker James Walshaw who was awarded a penalty after being brought down by United full-back James Holden. Walshaw stepped up to give Guiseley the lead, calmly converting the spot kick 11 minutes in.
As the half progressed, Guiseley looked to threaten again as a cross floated in from the left was met by Adam Muller who rose for a header on target at the far post. United managed to block the attempt, however the Yorkshire side continued to hassle the United defence.
Late on in the second half, United won a corner following an attacking burst down the right by Deegan. The corner was sent in from the left and was headed towards Simon Carden on the far post, whose attempt to equalise forced a strong save from Jon Worsnop low down to his left.
In the latter stages of the half, FC began to come into the game, applying some pressure and having spells of decent possession inside the Guiseley half despite playing into a strong head wind.
It was Guiseley however who had the chance to double their lead, through substitute Matty Young who made an attacking run into the area and managed to get away from Sam Ashton who had come off his line. Young played ball across the face of the goal, to be denied by a combined saving clearance off the line by Holden and Nick Swirad.
Despite promising signs at the end of the first half, it was Guiseley who looked the likely to score as the second period began.
A powerful drive through the United area from captain Jerome Fitzgerald was met by Walshaw at Ashton’s right hand post and as the striker looked set to finish, he hit his shot high off target.
Walshaw continued to cause trouble for the Reds as the half wore on, having several chances to increase Guiseley’s lead. The centre forward connected with a cross in from the right, producing an unmarked header across the United goal, which went wide of the left post much to the consternation of the Guiseley dugout. In the next move, Walshaw again threatened, beating his man inside the United area, and this time sending his shot over the cross bar.
As the hour mark was reached, Dave Briggs fired the ball in from outside the area and Ashton did well to parry the initial shot. However, the ball fell into the path of Simon Johnson, who beat the United keeper on the follow-up.
Changes immediately followed for both sides as ex-FC favourite Stuart Rudd was introduced to the Guiseley attack, receiving a warm reception from the United faithful. Ovington and Phil Marsh also made way for Carlos Roca and Gage Eme respectively, and less than five minutes later, Jake Cotterell was replaced by Angelos Tsiaklis.
A chance came for United with 15 minutes remaining. Roca rose to meet a cross from the left, his header on goal forcing an excellent save from the keeper who tipped the ball over the bar.
As the game headed into the final stages, a sending off added to the disappointment of United’s defeat as Deegan was dismissed for the second time in as many games, picking up his second yellow card of the game on 85 minutes.
Ultimately, the result reflected the respective league positions and FC United now have just under a week to recover, before facing Marine, themselves with play-off aspirations, away on Good Friday.
Report by Victoria Fullen.