Guiseley 2-2 Tranmere: Report

Tranmere were left reflecting on two points dropped as they twice surrendered a lead in a 2-2 draw with Guiseley.

Rovers went ahead through an own goal and Jake Kirby’s second half strike, but failed to hold on on each occasion.

The visitors enjoyed a blistering opening in West Yorkshire, but struggled to take their chances.

And after the relegation threatened Guiseley showed some resilience, it meant both teams had to settle for a fair point.

Gary Brabin’s side were looking to build on successive wins over Chester and Gateshead.

And the Rovers boss resisted the temptation to select Jay Harris, back again after suspension, as named an unchanged starting eleven.

That meant Jeff Hughes and Steven Jennings continued their midfielder partnership, and they were particularly impressive early on as they pulled the attacking and defensive strings.

Tranmere looked to stamp their footprint on the game from the first whistle and piled the pressure on Guiseley.

The main protagonist was Michael Higdon, who caused no end of problems with his height and strength.

As a result, the visitors had a string of early chances, but found opposition ‘keeper Daniel Atkinson in fine form.

Adam Mekki had the first chance, tiptoeing his was past a defender before unleashing a vicious left-footed shot that was palmed round the post.

Higdon was the next to be denied, forcing an acrobatic, full stretch save with a volley from inside the box.

And the striker came closer from the resulting corner as he rattled the crossbar with a header that bounced away to safety.

Top scorer James Norwood then should have done better as he was picked out by a floated, pinpoint cross from Lee Vaughan.

But the striker could only nod wide from close range as Atkinson came out to meet him.

Guiseley did eventually settle though, as they allowed Higdon to win the long balls but picked up the pieces around him.

Jennings and Hughes were given less space in midfield, and the former was guilty of giving away a free-kick which led to the hosts’ first chance.

Liam Dickinson took it, firing goalwards from 25-yards, but Scott Davies was on hand to palm wide.

Just as it looked like Guiseley were beginning to get a grip on the game though, Tranmere finally struck.

Rovers worked the ball patiently down the left, with Hughes and Liam Ridehalgh involved before Norwood was unleashed down the wing.

He fired a powerful left-footed cross into the middle, and Rob Atkinson could not deal with it as he volleyed past his own ‘keeper.

The lead did not last long though, as Tranmere switched off almost immediately.

A deep cross from the left found James Hurst at the back post, and he deftly volleyed back across goal, with the ball bouncing in off the woodwork.

That was the final action of the first half, and after the break Rovers struggled to get going.

Guiseley piled on the pressure but found a sturdy defence in their way whenever it came to the final ball.

Dickenson had one chance, curling goalwards from 20-yards, and the ball took a wicked deflection off Vaughan as it rattled the bar.

Then, out of nowhere, Tranmere retook the lead as Jake Kirby grabbed his second of the season.

Rovers attacked down the left and the ball fell to the winger after Ridehalgh refused to shoot from inside the box.

Kirby accepted the chance and drilled a low effort past the ‘keeper and in at the near post.

The visitors were once again their own worst enemies though, as Guiseley hit back immediately.

For a second time, it was Hurst who got it as he was given far too much space down the Rovers left.

He smashed a low shot across goal and beat Davies thanks to the sheer power of the effort.

The stopper was more forceful when he was next called into action, diving high to his right to palm clear an acrobatic effort from Dickinson.

Then at the other end, Higdon headed straight at Atkinson from close range as the game well and truly opened up.

Both teams went in search of a winner, with Guiseley looking for three vital points in the relegation battle, whilst Rovers wanted them at the other end of the table.

They traded blows, with Hughes dribbling an effort wide before Dickinson’s 14-yard shot was saved.

Norwood then came close again, hooking over the bar on the turn from the edge of the box as the visitors searched for some momentum.

But at the other end substitute Oli Johnson, returning from a 10-month lay off, curled wide from a similar distance.

The final opportunity fell to Mekki after good hold up play by Norwood and when he could have taken a further touch, he smashed over from 25-yards.

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