THE STAKES may not quite be as high as Victory Park, Chorley on May 10, 2015, but tomorrow’s game at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood is not too far behind for Guiseley.
Mark Bower’s Lions visit National League relegation rivals Wood in a huge relegation six-pointer in their final away game of the campaign and penultimate match of their maiden odyssey at this level – and it promises not to be an occasion for the faint-hearted.
The table shows that Guiseley lie in 19th place, two places and two points above the club occupying the final relegation zone in Halifax, with Wood being ahead of the Shaymen only on goal difference.
Both sides clinched promotion to this level last term – the Lions memorably coming from behind to win a play-off final at Chorley – and Bower’s dug-out rival in Luke Garrard has described tomorrow’s game as bigger than their promotion-clinching triumph win at the end of 2014-15.
The game certainly has some of the trappings of a cup final and Bower is not one for dressing down its importance.
The Nethermoor chief said: “For both teams, the prize is there.
“If they win, they will probably fancy their chances of being able to secure safety, playing Welling in their last game.
“While if we win, we know it will all but finish the job.
“So it is a massive game. Both teams won play-off finals last year, so both are used to playing in big one-off games at the end of the season.”
On tomorrow’s opponents, Bower said: “They have been very up and down and in their last two home games, they lost to Southport and in the one before that, they comfortably beat Dover.
“They are very inconsistent. But certainly on the day, they can cause us problems.”
Guiseley are likely to without loan striker Emile Sinclair through injury again, but aside from that, Bower picks from strength.
With a considerable array of Football League experience in his ranks in the likes of former Leeds United left-back Ben Parker and former Barnsley and Accrington defender Rob Atkinson, Lions boss Bower is hoping that factor can tip the scales in his side’s favour – while being confident many of his seasoned players will handle the occasion.
He added: “We have a lot of players from last season who played in pressure games where there has been a lot riding on it.
“Playing the game and not the occasion itself is important and it is important not to get too carried away with anything else and focus on your own jobs,” he said.
“We have good experience in the dressing room and they are confident that they can deal with the occasion and put in a performance they will hopefully get us the win.”
Halifax face a tough trip to Forest Green.
Tadcaster Albion host Garforth Town tomorrow looking to put down the marker in their hunt for the title, before the return fixture next Tuesday night, writes TOBY BILTON.
Playing catch up to rivals Handsworth Parramore, Albion secured their fourth straight league victory at Pickering Town on Monday.
However, their fine run of form was duly shattered on Wednesday, when a 4-2 defeat at Matlby Main saw them slip to their first defeat in 10 games across all competitions.
Into the final period of the season, Tadcaster find themselves at the summit of the table by just a single point knowing that victories in the final four games will secure them the NCEL title. Three points against 14th-placed Garforth will keep the pressure on Parramore.
Ahead of what could be a fantastic week for the Brewers, who play four games in eight days, manager Barry Miller said: “Fitness is definitely something that is going to come into it in the next week.
“We have given ourselves a great opportunity to go and win the league.”
Elsewhere in the league, already relegated Nostell Miners Welfare travel to Liversedge, who themselves are fighting to stay in the league, finding themselves in the final place for relegation.
Sandwiched between the two is Pontefract Collieries, who host mid-table Clipstone.
With little left to play for for the 12th-placed team, Colls will be looking to draw on inspiration from the home crowd, knowing that three points would lift them towards safety in what has become a tight relegation affair.
Division One champions Hemsworth Miners Welfare host third-placed Bottesford in the final league game of the season at the MC Stadium.
Fourth-placed Emley travel to Knaresborough Town and the division’s top scorers will be looking for momentum heading into the play-offs.
Glasshoughton Welfare have an away clash at Winterton Rangers aiming for a first win in five, while Yorkshire Amateur, in 10th, host the division’s form side Westella VIP, who have taken 15 points from their last five games.
Eleventh-placed Selby entertain Hall Road with both teams looking to bounce back to winnning ways,
In what has been a season to forget for the Yorkshire based teams in the First Division North, this weekend sees the curtain come down for another few months, writes TOBY BILTON.
Relegated Harrogate Railway Athletic will be looking to put a miserable season behind them and a win in Cumbria at 15th-placed Kendal Town would provide some consolation.
Eighteenth-placed Ossett Town travel to Droylsdon knowing that a win for the hosts would see them leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Town’s fierce rivals Albion, who sit pretty in mid-table, host eighth-placed Trafford with little at stake for either side.
An Albion win however could push them into the top 10, if other results go their way.
Fourteenth-placed Brighouse Town entertain Mossley at the Dual Seal Stadium looking to complete the league double over their opponents after their 2-1 triumph in early December.
The county’s highest-placed team, Farsley Celtic, in 10th, welcome Radcliffe Borough to West Yorkshire.
In the First Division South, Goole AFC host Newcastle Town knowing that they will remain 19th regardless of the result.
Frickley, in the Premier Division, are away to eighth-placed Nantwich Town. Though Town are just one place behind their opponents, the five-point gap between the two sides means both teams will have to settle for their current place in the table.