Guiseley 3, Witton Albion 1: THE way Witton Albion's playing staff has changed of late was more than emphasised when only seven of the 14 players for this return fixture actually featured in the 4-0 thrashing Guiseley suffered at the hands of the Northwich side just before Christmas.
But with what resembled something more like his first choice side than the last few weeks, boss Jim Vince can be much encouraged with this performance - even if the result did not reflect it.
The first action of any note was a tackle from behind on Mike Moseley when he had turned his marker that rightfully saw Sam Denton yellow carded. Albion were getting plenty of the ball and Mark Peers, coming more into the game, cut through the home defence like a knife through butter as he beat three defenders before shooting just wide of the near post.
Albion's pressure continued and Moseley came closest with an effort which was well held by keeper Matt Taylor. On 28 minutes a left-side cross from Liam Brownhill caught the defence out, the ball fell to Peers who quickly passed across the goal but Moseley was unable to stab it home. Then on the half-hour mark Moseley turned well from 25 yards out and hit a half-volley which Taylor could only beat away - unfortunately no Albion player was following up.
As half-time approached a corner from the left was met by Brian Pritchard's head, the keeper was beaten but the ball was cleared off the line. Other efforts by Moseley and Peers came with Guiseley replying with a looping header just over with debutant keeper Andrew Paxton beaten.
The second half began with Albion again taking the game to the home team with Moseley and Dave Whittaker coming close. But as they began to dominate midfield, forward moves were constantly being halted by a flag-happy linesman.
Against the run of play, Mark Stuart got his name on the score-sheet as he combined with Matty Smithard and tucked away the resulting ball pulled back from the dead-ball line on 63 minutes. The home side's lead was short-lived as Witton equalised five minutes later courtesy of Mark Peers' perfectlyflighted 25-yard free-kick into the top right-hand corner which left the keeper a virtual spectator.
Any points that Albion might have taken were lost in the following five minutes when Danny Forrest got the decisive touch to a ball bobbling around the Witton box to restore the home side's lead.
Guiseley sealed the win two minutes later after a powerful free-kick took a slight deflection off the defensive wall. Paxton's efforts to stop the ball going for a corner only succeeded in giving Matt Smithard the chance to pounce and score Guiseley's third.
WITTON: Paxton; Hockenhull, Pritchard, Spearitt, Ness (Hurst), Brownhill, Peers, Bowler, Connors, Moseley, Whittaker. Subs not used: Parkinson, McNutt.
Star Man: Connors, no doubt at all.
Next best: Brownhill - better in midfield.
Team Rating: 4 Match Rating: 4 Attendance: 213.