I’m not one to usually blame a referee for an adverse result, but this afternoon at Sincil Bank I can’t help but feel referee Karl Evans has cost us a free Tuesday night.
Despite Guiseley’s recent resurgence they came this afternoon to ensure they didn’t concede. They kept themselves tight and organised, and despite a second half onslaught we were unable to seize the advantage.
However two really good penalty shouts were turned down, one a hand ball and another a foul on Theo Robinson towards the end of the game. I’m not writing here with the benefit of replays, but both looked stonewall penalties as far as I was concerned.
The handball wasn’t even debatable, and although a cross was whipped in at pace the Guiseley full-back went to ground with his arms raised. There was an element of ball to hand, and although it was a penalty I can understand the reluctance of the official to give it.
However the foul on Theo towards the end wasn’t even subtle, and whilst he was facing away from goal a foul in the area is a penalty. How the ref didn’t give it I don’t know. I thought the ref went out of his way today to spoil a good game of football, and whilst it wasn’t a dirty match the stop start nature of the early exchanges really impacted on the flow of the game.
We weren’t at it first half at all. After a bright opening six or seven minutes I felt we faded badly, and by the time the half time whistle went I think everyone was happy that we were having a break from the monotony. That’s not a reflection on either side though, I thought the visitors we extremely well organised and nullified our threat effectively. We needed a strong second half.
The highlight of my half time was clapping eyes on a pair of the fabled Adidas GT Manchester specials. If only they’d been a size 10.5 I think Mr Nesbitt might have been going home in his socks.
We certainly got at them in the second half, with 17 efforts at goal in the final 45 minutes compared to just two for Guiseley. As the game wore on I felt we were more and more likely to score, especially after Theo Robinson came on. At times though we lacked a bit of width on the left, Hawkridge and Habergham didn’t look comfortable playing together. One would rarely overlap the other, and whilst it might have been the tactic to stop us being exposed it did leave a gaping space un-utilised behind their full back.
I heard the game described on the radio as a ‘bore draw’ and I think that was a harsh assessment. As we piled forward a goal looked more and more likely, and perhaps another fifteen minutes play might have brought the opening we were looking for. Guiseley predictably tired and our superior fitness showed, but they defended resolutely and earned themselves another bite of the cherry in 72 hours time.
On the face of it City deserved to come away with a free Tuesday and their name in the hat, but a weak referee and a resolute Guiseley put paid to that. I got some comfort leaving the ground to hear Tranmere and Forest Green were out at an early stage though. We might not have won, but it could have been much worse.
Guiseley won’t be taken for mugs for the rest of this season. They didn’t offer a real goal threat bar one good chance in the fist half, but as they settle with the new manager I think they’ll cause teams some trouble. I’d expect them to come out a bit more on Tuesday night and try and have a go at us, and that should allow us to utilise the space behind to ensure we take part in the first round.
13 DAYS LEFT – You know what to do.
As you know by now I’ve made it through to the finals of the Football Blogging Awards 2016 thanks to your votes, and I need now need your votes again. There are a couple of ways you can register your vote. You can click on the link below and select ‘The Stacey West Blog’ from the drop down menu under the Best New Blog Category. All you need is an email address to vote. If you voted in the first round you can now VOTE AGAIN in the final stage.
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