Morley red costs Brakes two points

Josh March pulls the trigger to make it 2-0 to Brakes. Pictures: Lou Smith
Josh March pulls the trigger to make it 2-0 to Brakes. Pictures: Lou Smith
  • National League North
  • Brakes 2 Guiseley 2

It was not difficult to pick out the turning point of this afternoon’s game at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, writes Paul Okey.

Hopes of a routine three points for the home side disappeared in the 65th minute when referee Nathaneal Cox deemed Stephan Morley’s coming together with Aaron Martin deserving of a red card.

Jordan Murphy looks on as his first-half effort goes inches over.

Jordan Murphy looks on as his first-half effort goes inches over.

Brakes were well worth their two-goal lead at the time against a Guiseley side low on confidence.

However, Bradley Nicholson despatched the resultant free-kick at the second attempt and the complexion of the game changed in an instant.

Handed an unexpected lifeline, Guiseley then went on to produce an 88th-minute equaliser, again through Nicholson.

It was cruel on Brakes who will look back ruefully on chances for Jordan Murphy and George Carline at 2-0 that could have put the game to bed.

Carline was one of the four loan signings forced to miss the FA Trophy win over Spennymoor and joined Callum Maycock and Murphy in returning to the starting line-up, with Dexter Walters on the bench.

Josh March was fit to return, while Jack Edwards sat out a one-game suspension.

There was little shape to the opening five minutes before Leamington took the lead from an unexpected source.

A loose ball dropped to Joe Clarke 25 yards from goal and with all the conviction of a regular scorer, the midfielder opened his Brakes account with a thunderous first-time strike into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later it was almost two, Carline getting in to nick the ball over keeper Marcus Dewhurst and getting wiped out in the process, only to see a covering defender mop up the danger.

Guiseley enjoyed a period of pressure which saw Jake Weaver spill a hopeful ball forward and almost present a shooting chance to Martin. However, he reacted quickly to nick the ball off the striker’s foot.

An Aram Soleman strike was deflected for a corner and in the 26th minute it needed a slight deflection from the trailing boot of Junior English to prevent Martin’s shot finding the bottom corner.

An acrobatic effort from Kennedy Digie was easy for Weaver but despite Leamington being on the back foot it was they who scored next.

March had received little service but just short of the half-hour mark he made the most of his first sight of goal, watching the ball drop over his shoulder before crashing a left-foot shot across Dewhurst and into the far corner of the net.

Carline did well to get his head on a deep cross from the left as Brakes sensed a chance to kill the game off before half-time and Murphy’s was agonisingly close to doing just that after nipping in ahead of Dewhurst, only for his dink to land on the roof of the net.

Gabriel Johnson failed to test Weaver with a couple efforts as half-time approached, while at the other end, a March free-kick was theatrically punched clear by Dewhurst who then saw another effort from the in-form striker fail to hit the target.

Guiseley were sent out early for the second period by boss Marcus Bignot and despite the rousing on-pitch ))words of skipper Scott Garner, appeared consigned to their fate as Brakes assumed control from the restart.

Clarke showed the composure he had demonstrated for his opener when chesting down a half-clearance on the edge of the Guiseley box but any thoughts of a miraculous double were shattered when he screwed his shot wide.

March demonstrated good strength to work himself a shooting chance but off balance, his fierce drive was well wide.

A superb Murphy cross to the far post was then nodded just the wrong side of the post by Carline from close range.

Nicholson was getting some joy down the left for Guiseley and a couple of whipped-in crosses created some hairy moments for the hosts. Most notably when Martin met one with a bullet header, only to have got his angles all wrong.

The sending off of Morley was to change the course of the game, however, with the left-back turning to accidentally end the run of Martin after a innocuous header forward had bypassed the midfield.

Referee Cox went to consult with his assistant and despite Brakes arguing the ball was beyond Martin,the result was a red card for Morley and a free-kick for Guiseley on the edge of the box.

Nicholson was given a second chance after a tame effort rebounded off the wall and he made no mistake with his follow-up attempt, curling the ball first-time over the remains of the wall and into the far corner.

Despite being a man down, Brakes held their shape well for the next 20 minutes, with a high press forcing Guiseley to work hard to retain possession in their defensive third.

It was actually an attacking platform of their own that allowed Guiseley to get back on level terms.

Clarke’s free-kick from the right failed to beat the first man in the box and the visitors broke quickly, with a searching ball forward earning them a corner.

Nicholson then rose highest to send in a downward header which bounced up and into the roof of the net to make it 2-2.

With two minutes of normal time and five minutes of added to come, Guiseley clearly fancied their chances of getting even more form the game.

However, it was the home side who came the closest to all three points, Gittings’ picking up a poor clearance and curling in a shot that looked destined to ripple the net, only to slide agonisingly past the far post.