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Boston United v Guiseley AFC: Lions reach Blue Square Bet North play-off final

Match action from Boston United v Guiesley. PIC: David Shipman

Match action from Boston United v Guiesley. PIC: David Shipman

BOSS Steve Kittrick could not bear to watch as Warren Peyton kept his composure to send Guiseley into the Blue Square Bet North play-off final and keep the Lions on course for a place in the Conference.

An incredible game ended 3-2 to Boston on the day, 3-3 on aggregate, but two penalty saves from Guiseley keeper Steven Drench in a tense shootout set up a final showdown at AFC Telford United next Sunday.

Guiseley were hit by an early sucker-punch yesterday as Shaun Pearson converted a corner to cancel out their aggregate lead, but Gavin Rothery’s second-half equaliser gave Guiseley hope.

Anthony Church then fired Boston level on aggregate again to take the game into extra-time.

Darryn Stamp’s incredible strike in the 108th minute looked to have sent the Lions into the final, but Danny Davidson’s dramatic goal sent the tie to penalties to decide a rollercoaster game and Kittrick loved every second.

“The worst thing is I forget to take my blood pressure tablets,” Kittrick said.

“My head is absolutely pounding, but what an advertisement for non-league football. It was unbelievable and we just kept going.

“What a way to win it. I’m not a great lover of penalties, but if it falls the right way then it’s great.

“I watched some of the penalties, the players got in front of me and I poked my head round to have a sneaky look.”

Kittrick made two changes from the first leg by bringing back Danny Boshell and 23-goal leading scorer James Walshaw to his starting 11 as he looked to build on Peyton’s solitary goal in the first leg at Nethermoor.

And the Lions boss lived up to his pre-match promise of not parking the bus to protect the slender lead.

Guiseley began well with Walshaw looking dangerous, but as the 10-minute mark passed, defender Pearson’s bullet header left keeper Drench no chance and sent the huge home support delirious.

With the scores level, the game was now up for grabs.

Boston were the more threatening of the two sides with Spencer Weir-Daley having an effort cleared off the line and then, on the stroke of half-time, there was a massive warning. From Jamie Yates’ free-kick, Church’s sweet shot cannoned back off the crossbar.

From the Guiseley players’ expressions at the interval, a long talk was in store.

The second half began in the same way the first ended with Church rattling the bar again – another let-off for Guiseley.

Tempers began to fray with the referee choosing to yellow-card Lions captain Simon Ainge and Boston striker Lawrie Duffield for their part in a mini melee.

Fruition

On the chances front, the Lions were beginning to show their claws – Peyton tried to repeat his strike from the first game with two wayward attempts – and their efforts came to fruition with an equaliser on the hour.

Stamp headed Ryan Toulson’s cross back across goal and former Leeds United youngster Rothery was on hand to blast the ball past Paul Bastock from close range.

The tie was back in Guiseley’s hands but, backed by a very vocal home support of over 2,000, Boston were always a threat.

Ryan Semple’s weak shot was the start of Boston’s attempt to ramp up the pressure in the final 15 minutes. And it was level again when the ball fell nicely for Church to fire home at the third time of asking.

The goal led to both teams accepting the score and unwilling to venture too far forward, meaning an extra 30 minutes.

Neither team came close to scoring during the first half of extra-time, but in the opening acts of the second, Guiseley looked a step closer to glory after Stamp’s incredible strike.

The ball fell nicely and Stamp volleyed the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards, giving Bastock no chance.

But within five minutes, Davidson headed Boston 3-2 ahead in the game and levelled the scores on aggregate – sparking a mini pitch invasion.

And so to penalties it went.

Walshaw, Stamp and Peyton scored in the shootout. Boshell and Ryan Toulson missed, but Drench’s two saves and Boston’s Adam Boyes strike against the post made sure Guiseley booked a tie at AFC Telford next week.

“We’re one game away from the Conference,” Kittrick added.

Boston United: Bastock, Canoville (Clarke 76), Jelleyman, Church, Pearson, Murphy, Semple, Sleath, Dudfield, Weir-Daley (Davidson 69), Yates (Boyes 115).Subs not used: Murphy, Cullingworth.

Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Merris, Peyton, Ellis, Ainge, Baldry (Sharry 79), Boshell, Stamp, Walshaw, Rothery (Needham 79). Subs not used: Coates, Fitzgerald, Spivack.

 

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