Destination: Nethermoor Park, Otley Road, Guiseley, West Yorks, LS20 8BT
Competition: FA Cup First Round
Attendance: 1,609 (including around 300+ from Crawley)
Admission: £12 / or £7 concessions, inc. unemployed (General admission)
Programme: £2.00 (40 pages /15 ads)
Refreshments: Pint of Golden Sheep bitter from the clubhouse = £2.40
Directions: Guiseley FC’s ground is handily situated on the main Otley Road just on the north edge of town. So half a mile in one direction is the town centre, and half a mile in the other direction is Harry Ramsden’s legendary chippy (plus a few shops and a decent watering hole).
It’s five minutes walk from the railway station too – head across the car park slightly towards the right, and you’ll see a small snicket. Go through this and straight ahead past a row of houses. Turn right at the end and you’re on Otley Road. A couple of minutes further down and Nethermoor Park is on your right.
Off The Pitch: Nethermoor Park is a medium sized complex, which houses a cricket ground, a bowling green, a small children’s playground, and Guiseley FC’s football stadium. With a 3,000 capacity, the latter consists of a pitch with hardstanding all the way round; small open terraces at each end; a seated Main Stand plus sponsors/directors cabins at one side, and two small covered areas at the other side – one of which is used mostly by away fans, and the other which is attached to the clubhouse.
Sadly, the club’s most distinctive feature – the largely wooden former Main Stand which was originally used by Harry Ramsden’s for brass band concerts – was destroyed by arsonists a couple of years ago, and has been replaced by a more functional but less attractive, largely plastic new one.
Also present is a club shop – with the usual array of programmes, badges, shirts, and the not-so-usual round these parts, FA Cup First Round tie-in jesters’ hats in blue and white. Also overheard in the club shop was the all-too familiar enquiry at the moment about where Non League 24 Magazine has got to.
On The Pitch: Bidding to get to the next stage of the competition for the first time, this was Guiseley’s fourth appearance in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup – though was an historic occasion in itself, as it was the first time that Nethermoor Park had been used for such a tie. (Their only previous home draw at this stage of the competition in 1994-95 had seen the game against Carlisle United switched to Bradford City’s ground instead.) With Guiseley currently third in Conference North, and high-flying Crawley above them at the top of the Conference Premier, local interest in the game was understandably high, and the atmosphere surrounding the game approaching a healthy fever pitch.
Despite a glut of goals, the one downside to today was that the game itself was pretty unexciting though. Coming the day after bonfire night, for the home fans it was the footballing equivalent of having your fireworks display spoiled by an early downpour. Crawley were more clinical than entertaining, and such was their dominance that they could easily have won by a greater margin. Bar a couple of periods in the second half when the result was beyond doubt anyway, Guiseley failed to threaten the opposing goal. And with both sides playing too much in a style of ‘kick the ball into a certain area and then try and win it’, rather than stringing a succession of passes together, it was a game which will only be remembered for some impressive finishing by Crawley. Like your favourite plumber, you would book them if you wanted a job doing, but you wouldn’t particularly want to watch them do it.