Dramatic escape act keeps Guiseley in division

Guiseley players celebrate their National League survival.

Guiseley players celebrate their National League survival.

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GUISELEY produced an amazing great escape as a final day 4-3 win against Torquay United ensured National League survival at FC Halifax Town’s expense.

Victory in Saturday’s seven-goal thriller elevated the Lions out of the drop zone with Guiseley finishing one point above Halifax who could only draw 1-1 at home to Macclesfield.

Ben Parker, Will Hatfield and Adam Smith celebrate staying up.

Ben Parker, Will Hatfield and Adam Smith celebrate staying up.

Torquay were already safe heading into the tie and nearly took the lead when Shaun Harrad produced a powerful shot on the volley which goalkeeper Steven Drench did well to save.

But Guiseley then raced into a 3-0 lead after just half an hour as Oli Johnson’s fifth-minute lob was followed by a tap in for Will Hatfield and a cool finish from Anthony Dudley who had earlier hit the post.

The Lions learnt that Halifax were 1-0 up against Macclesfield during the half-time break – meaning Guiseley were relegated as things stood – and Torquay pulled two goals back after the break through Nathan Blissett and Toby Ajala who scored on the hour. At the same time, Macclesfield had levelled at Halifax, meaning Guiseley were safe if they could hold on for victory. And the Lions extended their lead with 17 minutes left when Dudley beat two men before slotting home to make it 4-2. Torquay ensured a nervy finale when Shaun Harrad struck just four minutes later but Guiseley held on for a monumental victory which was followed by a nervy check of final score.

Lions boss Mark Bower said: “It was just a relief for the side when we knew we were staying up. We just had to get the win and the lads gave us everything.

Steven Drench and Ben Parker celebrate.

Steven Drench and Ben Parker celebrate.

“Having to rely on Halifax was tough. We have the base of a good side, we look forward to next season and I can’t wait to be a part of it all again.”

Over at The Shay, Halifax led on the stroke of half-time through Scott McManus but Daniel Rowe levelled on the hour. Boss Jim Harvey admitted: “It’s a terribly sad day, the boys are very disappointed in the changing room – it’s like a morgue.”

In National League North, Harrogate Town sealed their play-off spot with a 5-0 thrashing of basement club visitors Corby Town. An early Brendan Daniels brace including a penalty was followed by strikes from Lloyd Kerry and Jack Emmett, either side of a Danny Draper own goal.

Town, who finished fourth, host AFC Fylde in the play-off semi-final first leg on Wednesday evening with the second leg taking place next Sunday.

Will Hatfield scores the fourth goal for Guiseley.

Will Hatfield scores the fourth goal for Guiseley.

Boston United and North Ferriby United face off in the other semi.

Bradford Park Avenue finished 14th and signed off with a 4-1 loss at home to Gainsborough Trinity. Lamin Colley hit a late consolation for the hosts.

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CHAMPIONS TADCASTER Albion put the gloss on a fine season with Saturday’s last-gasp 4-3 victory at home to Athersley Recreation in their final league game.

The Brewers sealed the NCE League title and promotion with Thursday’s 2-1 win at home to Armthorpe Welfare thanks to goals from Josh Greening and Adam Baker. Athersley then looked to be pooping the party when leading 2-0 after nine minutes and 3-0 just before the interval but Albion came roaring back with goals from Carl Stewart, Conor Sellars, Jimmy Beadle and George Conway – who hit an 87th-minute winner.

Albion host Albion Sports in the League Cup semi-finals tomorrow evening.

Pontefract Collieries set themselves up for safety with a 1-0 win at Staveley Miners Welfare in which Mark Whitehouse bagged a 27th-minute winner. Third-bottom Ponte will jump out of the drop zone if winning their final game at home to second-placed Handsworth Parramore tomorrow.

Liversedge – who finish off at Retford United tomorrow – moved 15th and guaranteed safety with a 1-0 success at home to Cleethorpes Town thanks to Vaughan Redford’s late winner. ‘Sedge jumped above Garforth Town who finished 16th after a 2-2 draw at home to fourth-bottom Armthorpe Welfare who may yet go down. Curtly Martin-Wyatt bagged both goals for Garforth who are safe.

Already-relegated Nostell Miners Welfare were beaten 4-2 by visiting Rainworth Miners Welfare who struck twice at the death. Nostell led 2-1 at the break through Fidel Mhlolo and Billy Mole. Sixth-placed Pickering Town – who host Rainworth Miners Welfare tomorrow – won 2-1 at Maltby Main thanks to Ryan Cooper’s second-half brace. Fifth-placed Bridlington Town ended with a 3-0 loss at home to Parkgate.

Twelth-placed Thackley ended with a dramatic 2-1 triumph at home to Brigg Town who conceded two goals in the last three minutes – a Thomas Dugdale penalty and Liam Hudson late winner.

There was heartache in Division One for AFC Emley who lose the play-offs final to Bottesford Town 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Emley led 1-0 in normal time through Michael Tunnacliffe.

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