Daryl McMahon asked for more consistency and two weeks after racking up their best win of the season, Fleet topped it with a four-goal rout of Guiseley. Back-to-back wins and another clean sheet were the icing on the cake as the home side moved into the Top 10, four points behind a play-off position. It was the best win at this level of football for the club for almost a decade, with a 4-0 thrashing of Stevenage in August 2008 the previous high point.
There was a boost for the Fleet before kick-off as skipper Dave Winfield was deemed fit enough to take his place on the bench, just four months after it had been feared his season was over. Dean Rance made way for Jack Powell in midfield, with the Fleet’s No.4 still having not shaken off the effects of an injury sustained against Hartlepool.
Guiseley were forced into several changes with two supensions and a number of injuries but welcomed back on-loan striker Rowan Liburd and midfielder John Rooney, brother of Wayne. The visitors began with purpose and in wide man Andy Haworth had a useful outlet down the right but the match took a while to get going, with a lower than usual crowd feeling their way into the game as much as the players.
Fleet began to get at their opponents from the 10-minute mark and Luke Coulson warmed the goalkeeper’s hands with a shot after Danny Kedwell had flicked a header through to him but the save was routine enough for Jonathan Maxted. The keeper was called again moments later when Myles Weston’s rampage down the right had him bearing down on goal but the shot failed to trouble Maxted.
The best chance for the home side came on 20 minutes when Weston dug out a fine cross into the six-yard box and Coulson got a somewhat mistimed head to it and Maxted this time had to make a rather more energetic stop.
But within 120 seconds, Fleet had taken the lead. With Andy Drury fouled 25 yards out, Jack Powell took his cue and bent his usual excellent set piece away from the wall and just out of reach of Maxted’s lunge for his fourth goal of the season.
Former Fleet defender Jean-Yves Koue Niate was cautioned for a tough challenge on Coulson before Guiseley almost got themselves back into the game. Drury’s pass in midfield went astray, allowing the visitors to break quickly and a smart ball forward by Lee Molyneux saw Rooney leave it for Liburd who smacked a header off the top of the post with Nathan Ashmore beaten.
Fleet withstood Guiseley’s efforts for an equaliser though the Lions should have done better on 35 minutes when Liburd again got clear of the home defence but rather than square it to the waiting Rooney, he decided to go it alone and saw his chance snuffed out by Kenny Clark who put the ball behind for a corner.
But the men in red upped their game again in the last few minutes of the half. Jack Connors superbly rode a tackle in midfield before finding Sean Shields with a ball out left and he cut into the box but saw his effort cleared as far as Powell whose low drive struck a leg and ran clear.
And two minutes from time, Shields created the second goal. Another of his tricky runs into the box drew a tackle from Ash Palmer and as Shields just about stayed on his feet, the Guiseley skipper went in with another lunge, this one illegal, and the referee awarded a penalty. Maxted has gained a recent reputation for saving spot kicks but he was no equal to Kedwell’s powerful shot down the middle and Fleet went in at half-time two goals to the good.
The second half saw lengthy periods of inaction as Guiseley fired off a few hopeful efforts and Fleet concentrated on protecting their lead. Coulson’s run almost played in Kedwell early on and then Clark received a yellow after Connor Brown collapsed by his post during a corner. Clark had made minimal if in fact zero contact and Brown spent the remainder of the game as a target for the Fleet fans who felt he’d simulated the incident.
That was as much as the home fans had to entertain themselves until their side upped the tempo again in the last 20 minutes. Powell had another effort go close from a free-kick, Maxted just getting a hand to the ball as it ventured towards the bottom left of his goal.
Guiseley introduced two new frontmen but it was 3-0 on 73 minutes when a corner was met by Chris Bush with a firm header for his first goal for the club.
McMahon brought on Winfield after that to counter the big Guiseley substitutes and Fleet extended their lead still further with 10 minutes left. This time it came from open play as Kedwell delivered an excellent pass into the path of Weston. The winger eased clear down the right and once inside the box, drew the keeper to the near post before angling a shot across goal into the opposite corner to make it 4-0.
Drury almost made it 5-0 with a quickly-taken free-kick from inside his own half, launching a high ball over Maxted but it just veered off course. Guiseley barely troubled Ashmore and their second-half efforts were mainly off-target and overly optimistic and Fleet coasted to a much-deserved three points.
EUFC: Ashmore, Magri, Connors (Winfield 78),Clark, Bush, Drury, Powell, Weston, Powell, Shields, Coulson (McLean 86), Kedwell. Subs not used: Miles, McCoy, Cook
Guiseley: Maxted, Brown, Lowe, Palmer, Niate, Howarth (McFadzean 80), Lenighan, Harvey, Molyneux (Fondop-Talom 73), Rooney, Liburd (Odejayi 73). Subs not used: Correia, Purver