Guiseley AFC v Aldershot Town match preview – Saturday 11 March 2017
Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to league leaders Lincoln City saw Aldershot Town extend their unbeaten run to 11 games – their longest run without defeat in 9 years. In doing so, The Shots recorded their sixteenth clean sheet of the season – the best ‘Shut Out’ record in the Vanarama National League this term.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Whilst clear-cut chances were at a premium for the home side – the best of them falling to Bernard Mensah and Shamir Fenelon – Gary Waddock’s side put in an excellent defensive performance and prevented The Imps from scoring in a match for only the seventh time this season. Luke Waterfall had perhaps the visitors’ two best chances, but both efforts narrowly missed the target. Jake Cole’s excellent block save thwarted Nathan Arnold when clean through on goal in the second-half, and the point secured Aldershot Town sixth-place in the National League table for the third successive weekend.
The draw took Gary Waddock’s side to 59 points for the 2016-17 campaign and The Shots travel to Guiseley looking to stretch their current run of unbeaten away games to six.
Once again, Gary Waddock made two changes last weekend, with Nick Arnold and Shamir Fenelon replacing Anthony Straker and the suspended Jim Kellermann. Kellermann will miss the second match of his four-match ban at Guiseley, but Waddock has managed to extend Kundai Benyu’s youth loan to a fourth month with the permission of Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.
The Shots’ only other confirmed (long-term) absentee for this match will be central midfielder Liam Bellamy, who had an operation in February on his lateral knee ligament. Midfelder Jake Gallagher is on nine yellow cards and should he pick up a tenth in this game, he will receive a two-match suspension. However, this is the last game in which he is under such a threat, as an amnesty is in place from Sunday until the end of the season.
Guiseley AFC, The Lions, were formed in 1909, with fans looking back most fondly on an extraordinary three-season spell between 1989-90 and 1991-92 which saw an FA Vase win, a losing Final appearance and a defeat in the semi-finals. However, their last six full league campaigns have been even more impressive. The West Yorkshire side reached the Conference North Play-Offs in all five of their seasons in the division, losing in the final in 2010-11 (to AFC Telford United) and 2013-14 (Altrincham). However, it was third time lucky in 2014-15, where they defeated AFC Fylde (3-1 on aggregate) and Chorley (3-2) to reach the non-league top flight for the first time in the Club’s history. After a promising start to their National League campaign last term, Guiseley lost momentum and found themselves in a fight for survival. They eventually avoided relegation by one point (49) and one place (20th).
After losing their first five matches in 2016-17, manager Mark Bower was sacked and central-defender Adam Lockwood took over as Caretaker-Player-Manager, a role that has since been made permanent. Following a difficult start (three draws and three defeats), Lockwood eventually steered Guiseley to their first league win of the season at the Club’s 14th attempt. The ship was steadied and since late November The Lions form has been quite exceptional, with 8 wins, 4 draws and just 3 defeats in their last 15 games. During that run, they have beaten four sides that currently sit in the Top 9 of the National League: Lincoln City, Macclesfield, Dagenham & Redbridge and Barrow.
Key players include:
Jonny Maxted (Goalkeeper): Initially signed on loan in September 2016, now permanent and has played a key role in Guiseley’s recent good run.
John Rooney (Midfielder): Scored 12 goals for Wrexham prior to joining Guiseley for the remainder of the season. He scored a 90th-minute winning goal on his Lions debut against Sutton on 14 Feb, but hasn’t scored since.
Michael Rankine (Striker): The ex-Shots striker has 6 goals this season and is always a handful for any defence to cope with.
Saturday sees just the fourth league meeting between Aldershot Town and Guiseley, with the North-East Hampshire side having won all three of the previous encounters. The Shots only ever previous visit to Nethermoor (22 August 2015) proved to be a fruitful one. Barry Smith’s side survived an early onslaught from The Lions, who spurned three great chances, before Town took control and eventually eased to a 4-0 victory, with Cheye Alexander’s wonderful solo effort the pick of the goals. In the return fixture last season, a solitary Tom Richards goal was enough to earn three points and a league double for The Shots. Earlier this season, a Charlie Walker strike saw The Shots to a 1-0 win at The EBB Stadium. The two teams also met in a Third Round FA Trophy tie in January 2014, where the hosts cruised to a 3-0 victory, with strikes from Aiden O’Brien, Jordan Roberts and an own goal separating the two sides.
Saturday’s referee is Martin Coy, who has officiated in 19 National League matches during season 2016-17, issuing 70 Yellow Cards and just one red card. He has taken charge of three Aldershot Town matches this season, all away: the 1-0 win at York City, the 3-3 draw at Lincoln and the 1-1 draw at Gateshead.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall and Shots legend Nikki Bull will be covering the game on Saturday. Tune in to the BBC Sport website from 2.50pm for full match commentary.
You can also contact us throughout the afternoon via Twitter. Tweet your predictions and thoughts on the game to @bbcsurreysport and @RobShot66.