O’Donnell impressed as Millers claimed derby draw
Guiseley make FA Cup history as Maxted stars
FOR AN incurable cup romantic like Paul Cox, last night truly had a bit of everything.
The competition’s enchantment was in danger of being temporarily lost upon the Guiseley manager.
His hopes of securing a nostalgic trip to former club Mansfield Town seemed to disappear into the ether following the hugely controversial dismissal of Chris M’Boungou for two quickfire bookings in the space of six minutes just before the interval.
A 47th-minute opener from home captain Sean McConville deepened the sense of injustice.
But in cup football, it is never over until it is over and a captivating Roses tie that few supporters of both clubs will ever forget still had a chapter or two to pen.
Ten-man Guiseley somehow drew upon their reservoirs of character to summon up a response of valour and bloodyminded defiance against League Two side Accrington Stanley on a breathless evening when elements of the sublime and the ridiculous were on show.
More of the bizarre from Surrey-based official Charles Breakspear saw him take centre stage for a second time 11 minutes from time when he pointed to the spot for a perceived offence committed by Jordan Thorniley in a crowded box – with many in attendance unsure quite what happened.
Substitute John Rooney was not about to pass up such a gift and steered the ball home past Aaron Chapman to restore parity – and after making it to extra time, depleted Guiseley somehow, magnificently, survived for the penalty shoot-out.
The stage was set for a hero and Jonny Maxted came through for Guiseley, making saves to deny Billy Kee and Scott Brown to create history for the Lions who booked a second-round berth in the cup for the first time.
For Cox, a sentimental return to Field Mill is now a joyous reality.
It was left to Mike Fondop to jubilantly fire home the winning penalty for the visitors, with Rooney, Andy Haworth and Connor Brown also finding the net for Cox’s men.
The tone for an intoxicating night in keeping with the firstclass entertainment at Nethermoor was set in the first few minutes when Aaron Chapman produced a reprise of his inspired heroics in West Yorkshire to turn away Jean-Yves Niate’s fierce effort before play switched to the other end, with Mark Hughes clipping the bar with a firm header.
How there were no goals at the interval was an unfathomable mystery.
The hosts hit the woodwork on three occasions and saw a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside, while Chapman also produced another blinding save right out of the topdrawer to turn away Jake Lawlor’s low goalbound effort
Both sides were painted in a thoroughly positive light, but sadly the main talking point at the interval was a controversial one following the dismissal of M’Boungou just before the break, with his second booking looking particularly harsh as he appeared to slip into Mehki McLeod.
A floodlight failure saw one light go out in the first half, but thankfully Guiseley’s hopes just about remained intact in a half that had everything apart from a goal.
The Lions’ goal led a charmed life with a key touch by Brown diverting McConville’s goalbound strike after he rounded Maxted before ex-Guiseley Juniors player Kayden Jackson saw his low shot cannon off a post.
A remarkable one-handed parry from Maxted then somehow kept out Hughes’s header before the action continued with Kee’s effort ruled out for an infringement.
There was still time in a breathless first-half finale for Kee to head against the bar before M’Boungou saw red – with the interval whistle yielding a chorus of boos from the visiting support in the direction of Breakspear.
McConville’s cool header opened the scoring from Callum Johnson’s centre and looked like being the precursor to a routine evening at least. Not a bit of it. Fondop somehow managed to fire over an open net just after the hour, but Guiseley found a lifeline courtesy of Breakspear – and Rooney.
Maxted came into his own in extra-time, making brilliant saves to deny McConville twice, while an assistant’s flag ruled out a home ‘goal’ after Darren Holden put through his own net under pressure.
Somehow, magically, Guiseley made it to the penalties, despite playing 76 minutes with 10 men. And there was further drama to come. PICKING over the bones of Rotherham United’s derby draw at Doncaster Rovers, the performance of under-fire goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell was not lost upon manager Paul Warne.
It has been a decidedly mixed season for the former Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City player, who made a costly mistake in the Millers’ recent FA Cup exit at Crewe Alexandra.
It was up in the air as to whether the Millers’ chief would stick with O’Donnell or use veteran Lewis Price for Saturday’s Keepmoat Stadium clash. In the event, a finger injury sustained by the latter in training last Thursday made the decision straightforward.
While not having masses to do against Rovers, O’Donnell – powerless to prevent Richard Wood’s own goal from putting Rovers ahead – handled competently in a sound showing likely to have provided a morale-boost after the previous Saturday’s events.
Warne, who has loan goalkeeper Marek Rodak back from international duty this weekend, said: “I thought there was not one thing he did wrong.
“We spoke about the Crewe thing. Everyone is going to make a mistake; it is hard being a goalkeeper. I could not be a goalkeeper; the monkey in my brain would be clapping symbols, you have too much time on your own.
“When you make a mistake as a goalie, you cannot go and tackle anyone, you just have to wait. I thought he was outstanding (at Doncaster), came for everything I wanted him to and I am pleased for him.”
Winger Jon Taylor is a doubt for Saturday’s home game with League One leaders Shrewsbury – managed by Warne’s good friend and ex-Millers team-mate Paul Hurst – after coming off at the weekend with a knee issue.
But on the plus side, left-back Joe Mattock and captain Lee Frecklington are back in the reckoning from suspension and injury respectively.
Warne, whose side have not won in the league for their past four matches, said: “Taylor’s knee was sore, I think he took a whack on the part he has been struggling with. I think he will be a doubt for the weekend.
“I have got Frecks and Joe Mattock coming back, which is a joy of joys.
“We had to play a little bit of an imbalanced back four, with Michael (Ikiekwe) coming in and Josh (Emmanuel) getting out wide and it did not work as well as I would have liked, but we had no alternative.”
Guiseley players celebrate their penalty shoot-out victory over Accrington Stanley in last night’s FA Cup tie.