As a result of today’s match at Alfreton being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, the Bulls next game looks like being a crunch one at Edgar Street against Guiseley AFC who sit six points behind Hereford, and will be desperate to close the gap. Their match against Curzon Ashton also fell foul to the weather this afternoon. Here is the Talking Bull Preview of next Saturday’s game.
Sequence of Results since New Years Day: Drawn, Lost, Drawn, Lost, Drawn, Lost, Drawn, Drawn, Drawn, Lost, Lost, Lost There’s a bit of rhythm in those words. Imagine a rapper adding a backing track and manufacturing a new release by repeating that sequence. In case you hadn’t guessed, these are recent results for Guiseley AFC, our visitors on March 23rd. As Keith Hall astutely pointed out during the pilot Radio Hereford Footy Show, the Tykes haven’t won since a 2-1 victory at Bradford PA on New Years Day. Since then, they’ve only added six points to that total. One of those was of course a 1-1 draw with the Bulls though you can argue the home side were fortunate that night. At home, they last won a League game in October. I would be most concerned if I supported Guiseley. Remember they were a Step One club last season and they could easily be in the Northern Premier next season.
Our visitors have 33 points (as of March 10), just 3 ahead of FC United and Ashton. FC are unbeaten in four games but face a points deduction for not securing international clearance for one of their players. Ashton have only scored only once in 4 games. Two of these three clubs will drop, it’s down to who can win any games. Or be convincing at personal hearings.
Guiseley feel like a club which has over reached themselves and now paid the price. The National League is a tough place to be without big support or backing. Guiseley reached the Non-League top fight two years ago for the first time and discovered the difficulties first hand. Once you’re in that downward spiral of player and manager turnover amid thoroughly brassed-off support, it’s hard to stop. A recent comparison is Yeovil in the Championship. They clung on for a while then plummeted. Now they are 22nd in League 2.
The Lions have 3 owners, each owning a third. One of them is Leeds-based Steve Parkin. He owns Clipper Logistics (who owns 3,000 staff) and is thought to be worth £190 million. He also owns 73 breeding racehorses. Leeds United are his first love and he’s come very close to making takeover bids for them. In his younger days, he was a miner and an HGV lorry driver. I have no evidence either way as to whether he has shared any of his wealth with the Lions. But he could at least lend his horses for nearby away games.
Staff turnover is heavy. 24 players plus their third manager left last summer. That includes our own James R and James W. Guiseley management bought in 16 players to add to the dozen remaining and obviously more have arrived since. A lot more. March recruits include big defender Kennedy Digie from Kiddy Harriers on a permanent move (typically he was injured very quickly), striker Lewis Archer from Hednesford on loan and an 18-year-old midfielder Dylan Barkers from Solihull Boro, also on loan.
Their more optimistic supporters see a squad giving 100%, but lacking a goalscorer. I know that sounds familiar, but pre-Curzon on March 16, Guiseley lost 3 consecutive games 1-0 so their need is very obvious. Top goalscorer is Rowan Liburd. He’s Croydon-born and spent 4 years on a football scholarship in the States. Guiseley are his 7th club in four years. He’s scored 11 times this season (including a hat trick v Boston) but for whatever reason has missed a third of the League games. Another Lions striker is Kayode Odejayi and you won’t mistake him for anyone else if he plays. Former pro with 700 games behind him, aged 36 and looks about 7 foot tall. In his younger days, he played 175 times for Cheltenham. But he’s not scoring many and is more often on the bench these days.
In midfield, Guiseley have the hirsute and familiar figure of Kingsley Tyrone James. Poor guy must be so weary of relegation battles. Nearly relegated with us. Relegated with Halifax in 2016. In 2018, relegated with Chester and nearly relegated with Barrow- where he was on loan for part of the season. And possibly relegated again in April? According to Wiki, James supported Manchester United as a boy rather than his local club, Rotherham so I reckon he’s reaping what he sowed. Still only 27, “Jonah” James has racked up nearly 300 appearances for his combined clubs.
The Lions’ away record is quite similar to our own. Three wins (Alfreton, Nuneaton and Bradford (PA)) plus a number of draws. They nearly had a fourth victory a month ago, leading at FCUM and looking comfortable, only to concede an injury-time equaliser. Sounds familiar? Had the Lions won in Moston, who knows whether their season might have turned around. The Yorkshire side have drawn the most games of any NLN side (15). I envisage a degree of desperation when they roll up at the Street. A strong referee will be key. Not a must-win for us, but we still want to see a performance from our team.
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