Harriers 1, Guiseley 2

HARRIERS ended a disappointing season with defeat against Guiseley at Aggborough.

A second half penalty from Joe Ironside, his eighth goal in the last seven games, couldn’t prevent the hosts ending the campaign on a low note and falling to their lowest league finish in 43 years.

A first half penalty from visiting skipper Andy Halls and a second half effort from Jack Dyche handed Guiseley the points and saw Reds finished the campaign in 10th - their lowest since coming 18th in the 1975/76 Southern League Division One North season.

They made two changes for this game as Jaiden White and Josh Heaton replaced Joel Taylor and Harry Higginson in the starting line-up. The changes also saw Liam McAlinden switch to left-back.

The clash was a scrappy affair in blustery conditions with neither side able to assert any pressure early on.

The first effort of the afternoon saw Guiseley forward Jack Dyche drive wide after finding space 20 yards out on 10 minutes.

Harriers eventually worked visiting keeper Marcus Dewhurst when he gathered Milan Butterfield’s low shot from range on 23 minutes.

The home side started to grow into the contest approaching the hour mark as youngster White showed neat footwork in midfield to his side on the front foot.

Minutes later Harriers tested Dewhurst again when Joe Ironside headed McAlinden’s cross back across goal to the on-rushing Ed Williams. The attacker met it but couldn’t get any power behind his header.

Ash Chamber drilled powerfully wide on 31 minutes following more good build-up.

Harriers still pressed and again it was balls in from the left that were causing problems for the Guiseley rearguard.

Another McAlinden cross on 38 minutes was again teed for Williams but he was denied as Dewhurst tipped his effort onto the post.

Despite that pressure, it was Guiseley that broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the final minute of the half.

Skipper Halls converted after White had fouled George Cantrill in the area.

Harriers brought on midfielder Declan Weeks for Russ Penn at the break but chances for either side remained few and far between at the start of the second period.

The first opening of note fell to Ironside on 57 minutes but he could only fire McAlinden’s low cross wide of the near post.

It was Harriers who were enjoying more of the ball as they went in search of a leveller but the hosts just couldn’t find a final ball at the end of their build-up as Dewhurst remained untested for long spells.

The crucial second for the visitors arrived on 68 minutes after a mistake from keeper Tom Palmer following a rare Guiseley attack.

The young stopper let Dyche’s shot from a narrow angle slip through his grasp and into the net on 68 minutes.

Another effort from Dyche rattled the post moments later as Harriers struggled.

They did pull one back on 78 minutes as player of the season Ironside fired home from the penalty spot after sub Kane Richards was fouled in the box when going for a return ball from Weeks.

Guiseley sub Lewis Archer should have wrapped up proceedings on 84 minutes but Palmer stood tall to make the save.

Harriers pushed for an equaliser in added time but couldn’t find a way through as the Guiseley defenders blocked a late drive from Weeks.

Harriers: Palmer, Austin, McAlinden, Penn (Weeks 45), Horsfall (c), Heaton, White (Richards 69), Butterfield, Ironside, Chambers, Williams.

Unused subs: Hall, Higginson, Startford.

Guiseley: Dewhurst, Moyo, Cantrill, Halls (c), Digie, Thornton (Barkers 78), Felix (Archer 71), Purver, Dyche, James, Hatfield.

Unused subs: Heaton, Starcenko, Morrison.

Att: 1,354 (38).