PAUL COX has professed to a sense of excitement at Guiseley taking their place in tomorrow evening’s FA Cup second-round draw following a 0-0 Roses stalemate with League Two high-fliers Accrington Stanley at Nethermoor.
National League outfit Guiseley, ranked 42 places lower than their opponents and seeking to reach the second round for the first time in the club’s history, were only denied victory by an outstanding performance from visiting goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.
The Stanley custodian made four excellent saves, including one in stoppage time to thwart the impressive Mike Fondop.
Chapman also performed heroics to keep out a glancing header from the same player in the first period and also showed his agile reactions to claw away a goalbound header from Jake Lawlor and turn over Kevan Hurst’s deflected drive.
On his side earning their place in the hat for tonight’s second-round draw – to be screened live on BBC2 and BT Sport – Cox, who managed Mansfield Town during their memorable run to round three in 2013, said: “We have got to be excited. Go back to when we (Mansfield) drew at Lincoln and pulled out Liverpool in the hat.”
Giving his verdict on his side’s efforts, he added: “On another day, against not such an inspired goalkeeper, we could have won it.
“I was actually jumping with one of the chances. I thought it was already in the stanchion.
“The boys have been brilliant and I just feel gutted for them because I wanted one of the chances to sneak in, even off someone’s backside.”
Rampant in their thumping 4-1 victory over Barnet on the previous weekend, Accrington – flying high in second spot in League Two – found the going somewhat tougher in front of 1,611 fans at Nethermoor against opponents who boasted a five-match unbeaten streak heading into the game.
That said, the visitors started with conviction with Bradford-born striker and ex-Guiseley Juniors player Kayden Jackson spurning a glorious early chance, firing over with the goal at his mercy after Mark Hughes headed Sean McConville’s free-kick into his path.
Guiseley grew into the game and started to impose themselves on the visitors, increasingly denying them time and space on the ball, while troubling John Coleman’s side with their direct tactics which worked a treat for much of the remainder of the game.
Fondop, in particular, posed the Stanley rearguard a number of problems, with the aerial strength and brute force of strike partner Kayode Odejayi also not providing any respite.
The only thing missing for Guiseley was a goal and while they were denied in their quest to reach the second round of the competition outright, they have another bite at the cherry, while their evolution under Cox continues. He added: “It was lovely to see so many people supporting us with a big smile on their face and getting excited.
“Eight or nine weeks ago, I walked into a football club that was low on confidence and morale. We are only on the tip of an iceberg in terms of what I want to achieve. That is two defeats in 12. The boys need to now take it on a notch. It is a positive day even though we have not won it. We have tried to do the right things.”
Guiseley: Maxted, Holden, Palmer, Lawlor, Brown, Molyneux (Rooney 80) Lenighan, M’Boungou, Hurst (Haworth 85) Odejayi Fondop. Unused subs: Green, Koue Niate, Lowe, Thompson, Mcfadzean.
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Conneely, Donacien, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Thorniley, Clark, Brown (Johnson 60) McConville, Kee, Jackson. Unused subs: Nolan, Leacock-McLeod, Edwards, Wilks, Ogle, Rawson.
Referee: Anthony Goggins.
Man of the match: Kevan Hurst (Guiseley).