GUISELEY boss Mark Bower is urging everyone at the club to stick together – after admitting that rival teams will be gunning for them after last weekend’s huge goal controversy against Braintree.
The 18th-placed Lions were in the equivalent of the footballing dock following Saturday’s equaliser in the 1-1 National League draw with the Iron, when Ollie Norburn lobbed visiting keeper Tom King following a throw-in – after Braintree had kicked the ball out of play for an injured player.
The goal stood and despite Braintree expecting to be allowed a walk-in goal, play continued – with many in the non-league fraternity, along with the incensed visitors, rounding on Guiseley for unsporting behaviour after the game.
Lions chairman Phil Rogerson subsequently admitted that the incident was ‘regrettable’ for everyone connected with the club – and revealed he was advised by match referee Tom Nield the goal would have to be reported to the Football Association as an exceptional incident.
Bower, for his part, admitted that while the incident was unfortunate, he and his staff made an honest decision at the time, but acknowledged he and the club must now live with the consequences.
Admitting that some teams may now have some extra motivation when they play Guiseley, Bower said: “People may do. We knew when we made the decision that it was controversial and people will disagree with it.
“We have got to live with the consequences now and stick together as players and club and put it behind us and concentrate on the games we have got coming up.
“All season, we have been up against it and that it is part and parcel of it and we have to deal with that.”
Bower admitted that the immediate few days after the incident, which has been widely seen on the internet and social media and prompted a fair bit of disapproval in the football world, were tough.
But equally, he stands by his decision at the time.
Bower, whose side welcome Wrexham tomorrow, added: “The keeper made absolutely no effort to stop it and he has gone on record and said some of his team-mates on the pitch had seen it and said afterwards he could and should have saved it.
“So the question is then do we take responsibility for that. At the time, everyone who was stood there thought the keeper had let it go in.
“Looking at it now on the video from different angles, it doesn’t look great on us.
“But we made the decision and it wasn’t an easy one to make. But at the time in the heat of the moment, we felt he let it go in.
“It was not an enjoyable few days after.
“But we have made the decision and have got to live with it – even though it is something that will probably stay with us for a while.
“Not many managers will get put in that position and I think it’s a bit different to anything else.
“Now we have to concentrate on Wrexham.
“We need to put in a good performance because aside from the controversy about the goal last weekend, we weren’t great performance-wise.
“And I want a bit of consistency in our play.”
HARROGATE RAILWAY Athletic coach Lee Ashworth believes his side’s relegation fight will go down to the wire as they travel to Prescot Cables tomorrow, writes NICK CARY.
Railway were beaten 7-0 by top-of-the-table Warrington Town earlier this week and go into the weekend in the relegation places, two points adrift of Ossett Town.
With 13 games left in the season, Ashforth remains positive, saying: “There’s a lot of points to play for and a lot of twists and turns to come.”
Railway’s leading goalscorer Amar Purewal is a doubt for the game, awaiting a scan on a groin injury.
Ossett Town go into their clash with Bamber Bridge hopeful of picking up vital points to move away from the relegation places. Town are unbeaten in their last three games in all competitions with their league form improving following their cup win against Premier Division Darlington 1883.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Ossett Albion will be looking to avenge the 3-1 defeat suffered in January as they travel to Lancaster City.
Albion could move into the play-off places with a win despite enduring form which has seen them lose six of their last eight games.
Farsley Celtic look to keep their play-off chances alive as they host struggling Droylsden.
In the Premier Division, Frickley Athletic play promotion chasing Stourbridge at Westfield Lane.
Tadcaster Albion boss Billy Miller is not expecting any favours from former manager Paul Marshall when the Brewers head to his new side Pickering Town tomorrow.
Marshall holds legendary status at Tadcaster after a seven-year spell in charge at the club – a stint which even saw him take over as chairman at one stage. His tenure on Ings Lane ended after a failed promotion bid last season and he moved along the A64 to takeover at Pickering in the summer alongside assistant Denny Ingram, another Tad favourite.
Miller and Marshall have held a long friendship in football but Miller insists that friendship will be put to one side when the pair meet on the touchline this weekend.
Miller said: “I have known Marshy since his days at Harrogate Railway and we have had a good relationship ever since, but you wouldn’t expect anything, certainly not in a game. I am sure it will be a good day out, and, fingers crossed, the weather won’t stop it happening.”
Taddy bounced back to winning ways on Saturday as they held off a brave fightback from Barton Town Old Boys to retain top spot. And their title hopes got another shove in the right direction on Tuesday when second-placed Handsworth Parramore were held to a draw by fifth-placed Cleethorpes Town.
Abion hammered Pickering 4-1 at the i2i Stadium earlier in the season, but Pickering have since risen up to eighth place in the NCEL Premier Division.
Miller said: “I am expecting them to be much improved from the last time we played.
“It’s just another game. Yes, it’s a local derby and there’s bragging rights up for grabs, but in terms of where we want to be, it’s one of 42 other games.”
Elsewhere, Pontefract Collieries will hope to move away from the relegation places and end a run of form which has seen them winless in their last 11 games when they travel to Retford United. Garforth Town are also away as they play Thackley at Ainsbury Avenue.
Basement club Liversedge, nine-points adrift, host fourth-place Worksop Town.
In Division One, Selby Town host Knaresborough while Glasshoughton Welfare travel to Eccleshill United.
Leaders Hemsworth Miners Welfare do not have a game tomorrow but play at Eccleshill next Wednesday.