FOOTBALL may be coming home, the heatwave is never-ending and even Gordon Gibb has suddenly resurfaced.

It’s been a strange summer in many ways but at least a hint of normality returned at Nethermoor last night.

Not that City’s own post-season has been quiet and uneventful; far from it. But it was good to be back to talking about matters on the pitch at last.

The opening friendly was a big occasion for Michael Collins and the head coach has stressed how seriously he wants City to approach every warm-up game.

But his hopes of making a winning start in an exercise that was chiefly about blowing away the cobwebs were dashed by two Guiseley goals in the final quarter.

All the scoring came in the second half – between two entirely different teams from before – as the National League North hosts claimed a comeback success late on.

Collins named four new signings in his starting line-up – Richard O’Donnell, Joe Riley, Anthony O’Connor and Josh Wright. Thomas Isherwood and Connor Wood appeared after the break.

Hope Akpan was not deemed ready after only a few days of training since joining the club and Sherwin Seedorf was rested along with Tyrell Robinson, Omari Patrick, Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Jake Reeves as a precaution for training knocks.

It meant an outing in midfield for second-year trainee Christian Farrar as well as a young trialist, believed to be Luca Colville formerly of Huddersfield, for the opening 45 minutes.

Rowan Liburd’s second-minute effort flew across the City goal but the bulk of the chances in the first half came from the visitors.

Shay McCartan is still to score one of his trademark free-kicks in Bantam colours and just cleared the bar with his first attempt. Then the Irishman cut inside to fire straight down the throat of keeper Joe Green.

Joe Riley showed his attacking intent with a burst into the box from right back and a shot that deflected over.

Charlie Wyke, whose future remains a subject of conjecture for City fans, tested Green with a thumping header from their first corner.

The crowd was down on previous years – no doubt the combination of some apathy over events that have unfolded at the club since the turn of the year and a World Cup semi-final on TV had an impact – but it was a fairly open contest for the fans.

O’Donnell carefully watched a Curtis Morrison low drive wide before Wright came the closest to breaking the deadlock after 32 minutes, his 25-yarder rattling the bar and bouncing down into the grateful arms of Green.

Bizarrely there were two Zimbabwean internationals on show in Adam Chicksen and Guiseley new boy Cliff Moyo. The big right back was up against Jordan Gibson, who was not afraid to try a trick or two.

This is a big season for the midfielder after a frustrating first year and he was eager to get on the ball, forcing a low save from Green as half-time approached.

As expected in the first game, City changed the entire side at the break – Alex Jones and Ryan McGowan making welcome returns from their long-term injury absences.

Jones had not kicked a ball in anger since November after a campaign cut down by ankle issues and he wasted no time in making an impression.

He was the provider for City’s opener a minute into the half, his cross being nodded home at the near post by young pro Reece Powell.

Strike partner Kai Bruenker was not far off a quickfire second and Jones had a crack that flew over from the edge of the box.

Guiseley were coming more into the game although former Arsenal keeper Ryan Huddart, who had replaced O’Donnell in City’s goal, was not overly tested.

One of the first things he had to do was pick the ball out of the net as the home side hit back midway through the half.

Will Hatfield bundled home from close range after Premier League referee Jon Moss waved play on amid home shouts for a City handball in the box.

It was getting a bit feisty with one or two challenges flying in and Romain Vincelot, who had shared the captain duties with Matt Kilgallon, was crunched into the advertising boards by Will Thornton.

Guiseley centre half Harry Flowers, whose grandad Ron was in the England squad of 1966, tried to add a fitting finale in this of all weeks but his header bounced straight into Huddart’s arms.

But the home side were not done and grabbed the winner two minutes from time, Scott Smith driving past the keeper into the bottom corner.

GUISELEY: Green, Moyo, Kennedy, Garner, Heaton, Trialist, James, Purver, Morrison, Liburd, Thompson. Subs: Flowers, Hatfield, Thornton, Harvey, Odejayi, Clayton, Smith, Trialist, Worsnop.

CITY: O’Donnell, Riley, O’Connor, Kilgallon, Chicksen, Farrar, Trialist, Wright, Gibson, McCartan, Wyke.

CITY (2nd half): Trialist, Devine, McGowan, Isherwood, Wood, Hudson, Peters, Vincelot, Powell, Bruenker, Jones.