GUISELEY ran the bookies favourites, AFC Fylde, close on Saturday afternoon at Nethermoor- however a quick flurry of second half goals for the away side resulted in an opening day defeat for the hosts.

The Lions will certainly face easier tests along the way in this campaign but Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill will certainly be pleased with what they saw from their side- in particular in the first half.

Flyde took the lead, however a Jordan Thewlis penalty brought the sides level going into the break.

But in the second half, a ten-minute Fylde onslaught saw the hosts fall 4-1 behind and a Hamza Bencherif late consolation goal wasn’t enough for Guiseley as they succumbed to a 4-2 opening weekend defeat.

The scoreline wasn’t exactly reflective on how the match played out and joint boss O’Neill was delighted with what he saw in spells of the game.

He said: “First and foremost, when you are coming up against fulltime professional players, the first thing that you've got to look for is whether you can compete physically against players of their level.

"Looking back now, I feel in all honesty I thought we were up there with their physicality over the 90 minutes and that is a huge positive we can take from the game.

"As the game went on, we had a ten-minute spell where the game went against us but I think Fylde were shellshocked in the first 15 minutes when we came out the blocks with intensity.

"I think we should have gone ahead in that first 15 minutes. I think if we had taken the lead, then it would have tested Fylde's resolve but then equally in the second half- we've gone from being 1-1 at the break to 4-1 down in a ten-minute spell in the second half.

"I was shocked that it got to 4-1 based on the flow of the game, but I suppose that's what can happen when you're playing against a side with bags of quality like Fylde.

"Overall, I think there is massive positives to take out of the game and we should use this performance as a benchmark for the next matches which we are really looking forward to."

Prior to kick off, Guiseley announced the capture of defender Jake Hull and winger Jacob Gratton on loan from Rotherham United with their deals expiring on January 2, 2022.

Both loan stars were thrown straight into the midst of the action at the weekend and O'Neill is pleased to have the duo on board.

He said: "I think they're both excellent prospects and they both get real good grounding at Rotherham. It's not particularly a proper academy environment and they get schooled into first team football from a young age.

"Rotherham need them to come away and get some proper first team action and they have both shown great desire and attitude in making the loan move. It will be invaluable for them to come and get that first team experience with us and we are delighted to have them join us."

O'Neill added: "They will add great depth to our squad and Gratton will give us another forward option which is what we wanted going into this window. We are really pleased with the business we've done.”