FC Halifax Town will make the trip up to Guiseley on Saturday afternoon, hoping they can continue their revival under new manager Jamie Fullarton, who remains unbeaten since taking over in late February.
In the reverse fixture at the Shay in August, Town were particularly impressive as they registered their first home win of the 2017/18 season at the third attempt.
Winger Matt Kosylo, who was recently named in the National League Team of the Weekend, cut inside and unleashed a phenomenal curling strike into the back of the net before captain Matty Brown doubled our lead.
A goal in either half was enough to see the Shaymen past their West Yorkshire rivals and pull them into 13th place in the league, condemning Guiseley to the relegation zone in the process.
Since Halifax’s reformation in 2008, the two sides have met ten times prior, twice in the National League, six times in the sixth-tier and twice in the cup.
The last time the two sides were both in the National League, in the 2015/16 season, Halifax were relegated with Guiseley finishing one point above, staving off the drop on the last day of the season.
In the home fixture, Town could only muster a 1-1 draw after losing the away game 2-0 to Guiseley. Substitute Samuel Walker spared Town’s blushes with an 84th minute equaliser to ensure our opponents didn’t record a league double over us.
The rivals met once again that season in the fourth qualifying round, in which the first game ended in a frustrating 2-2 draw at the Shay, where Guiseley came back from two goals down after the break.
As a result, the tie went to a replay, which ended 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, the home side once again coming from behind, with Adam Boyes cancelling out Sam Walker’s opener, meaning it would go to extra time.
James Bolton would pop up with the winner for Halifax with six minutes left on the clock, his deflected effort putting the visitors 2-1 up and into the next round of the cup.
In the National League North, from 2011 to 2013, both teams enjoyed successful seasons, finding themselves in the playoffs each time. Although neither side was able to reach the final in 2012, with Town falling to Gainsborough Trinity 3-2 on aggregate, the shares were spoiled in the league with Town winning 4-3, and losing 2-1.
The following year, both games ended in 1-1 draws, but after finishing in 5th place, and Guiseley in 2nd, Halifax were to play their rivals in the play-off semi-finals. After the 1-1 draw at the Shay, the odds were heavily stacked against Halifax at Nethermoor, but they dug deep and Lee Gregory and Dan Gardner gave the away side a richly-deserved win. The rest of that play-off run is, of course, history.
Fullarton’s side will look to record a league double over Guiseley for the first time since FC Halifax Town were reformed, and with Saturday’s opponents slumped at the bottom of the table, now is as best a time as any.
By James Cragg and Ashley Brewer.
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