Never-say-die Bower has history on his side

Mark Bower

Mark Bower

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MARK BOWER knows a thing or two about final-day ‘Great Escape’s’ from relegation from his days at old club Bradford City.

MARK BOWER knows a thing or two about final-day ‘Great Escape’s’ from relegation from his days at old club Bradford City.

And how the Guiseley boss would relish a successful re-run of history tomorrow.

The Lions, who cruelly fell into the National League drop zone for the first time this season last weekend, must beat Torquay at Nethermoor (5.30pm kick-off) and hope that either FC Halifax or Boreham Wood lose in order to survive on a nail-biting final day.

The odds may now be against Guiseley retaining their status in their maiden campaign at this level.

But Bower, for one, is not giving up hope yet and has cited two previous last-day reprieves with the Bantams as evidence that strange things do happen at the end of seasons.

Bower said: “I’ve had days like this at Bradford where I was playing, but not involved with the squad.

“In the old first division in 1997, we beat QPR 3-0 and in the Premier League, we won (against Liverpool) in 2000. Staying up on the last day can feel as good as being promoted.

“It would be a sweet day if we can manage to get out of it and that is the incentive for the players. It took us so long to get here, we don’t want to have to take a step back now.

“We will give it everything we have got and hope that the thing we have lacked all season, luck, will turn for us and that we can do our job and something can happen somewhere else for us.”

Luck certainly went against Guiseley in last week’s 1-0 loss at Boreham Wood, with their misery compounded by FC Halifax’s shock win at Forest Green.

The upshot is that the Lions must not only beat the Gulls tomorrow, but hope Halifax slip up at home to Macclesfield or Wood come a cropper at relegated Welling.

Bower admits that he will keep abreast of developments in the hope that the pressure tells for one or both of their relegation rivals.

He added: “We haven’t been in the bottom four all season until now and maybe had a mentality in previous weeks of thinking ‘just get a point’ or just hold on and we might be okay. Now things are completely different.

“Fourth-from-bottom has changed week after week and we have got to hope it changes again. We have got to make sure we do our job.

“It is a different pressure now. Halifax have a different pressure this week and it is exactly the same for Boreham Wood as well and hopefully that can affect them and we can get the win we need.”

After last weekend’s bitter developments, Bower would dearly love the swing of the pendulum to go around quickly in his side’s favour and is grateful for the fact that his troops can count on some parochial home support in their seasonal finale.

He added: “If one game summed up our season, it was Saturday.

“In the second half, we missed chance after chance. I am sure if we get as many, we won’t miss them again.

“Then chuck in a pretty scandalous penalty decision; how we have not had one is astonishing. But we have a big job to do on Saturday now. All we have been saying all week is go and win the game and then we will see what happens.

“We want as many people as possible to come out and try and push us on to get the win.

“We have some good days at home this season and put in some really good performances against some top sides.”

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TADCASTER ALBION clinched the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title last night – and promotion to the Evo-Stik League.

Taddy saw off visiting Armthorpe Welfare 2-1 last night amid joyous scenes to go seven points clear at the top of the division.

The Greening brothers combined for the Brewers’ opener, with Jonathan’s corner being headed home by brother Josh on 32 minutes.

Brewers’ Adam Baker got the second on 57 minutes with a brilliant finish and although Welfare netted late on to set up a nervy final few minutes, Tadcaster held on and will no doubt be celebrating their success in their final match of the season tomorrow against visiting Athersley Recreation.

Liversedge completed a remarkable turnaround and secured their place in the Premier Division for next season thanks to a 3-1 win over Clipstone.

Sedge were still in the bottom three last week, but three successive wins has pulled them clear of the drop.

Elsewhere, Pontefract Collieries travel to Staveley MW tomorrow, the first of their remaining two games as they battle to avoid relegation. The other match is against second-placed Handsworth Paramore which was postponed due to vandalism on Wednesday.

Relegated Nostell Miners Welfare will bring a miserable season to an end at home to mid-table Rainworth Miners Welfare.