NO-ONE of a Guiseley persuasion is likely to ever forget the crazy events at Nethermoor on the last occasion that the Lions welcomed tomorrow’s derby opponents York City.
The Minstermen’s sole competitive visit to this corner of West Yorkshire on a fateful autumnal evening on October 2016 became etched in the club’s folklore for the wrong reasons as the visitors crashed 6-1 in the National League.
An eventful night also saw one irate York supporter protest in front of visiting players on the pitch and be escorted out of the ground past beleaguered former Minstermen chief Jackie McNamara – and the floodlights fail briefly before the game restarted.
Guiseley’s haul included four goals in a devastating 12-minute first-half spell, with current midfielders Will Hatfield and Alex Purver both finding the net.
The former makes his return to the Lions’ squad following suspension tomorrow as the hosts seek a further positive memory to round off a critical week, which saw them claim a relieving 1-0 National League North victory over Curzon Ashton in midweek.
The success, Guiseley’s first home league win since way back on October 13, has provided some respite towards the foot of the table for Marcus Bignot’s and Russ O’Neill’s side.
It is about getting over the line again and getting the three points, which would be massive for us.Will Hatfield
As it stands, Guiseley are five points clear of third-from-bottom FC United of Manchester and six ahead of second-from-bottom Ashton United, who they welcome on April 13.
A win tomorrow afternoon against mid-table York would push the Lions ever closer to safety and represent a huge fillip for the rest of the season.
On tomorrow’s test with Steve Watson’s side – who cast aside the dismissal of Adriano Moke to come from behind and claim a point in a 3-3 midweek draw at FC United – Hatfield said: “York is one of the stand-out fixtures of the season, especially at home. Hopefully, they will bring a few fans and we will do the same.
“It is about getting over the line again and getting the three points, which would be massive for us.
“If we can turn a few more draws into wins, we will be fine.”
On securing another famous result against the Minstermen, Purver, who was the toast of Nethermoor in midweek after scoring the only goal of the game in the vital victory over Curzon, added: “It was fun in that last game against York, it was by far the craziest game I had ever played in with the lights going off and thinking it was going to get abandoned!
“I scored my first goal for Guiseley as well, it is a really important game and they all are now on this run.”
Purver’s latest strike secured a first league win since New Year’s Day for Guiseley, potentially representing a major psychological moment in their season.
Despite the much-needed morale boost, co-manager O’Neill has warned that the job is by no means done, with the Lions still having work to do to secure their divisional status and avoid a second successive relegation.
O’Neill, who saw Guiseley win in the league for the first time in 14 matches, added: “It is a massive game, we have ‘cup finals’ all the way to the end of the season now.
“It has an edge to it with it being a local derby.
“We are looking forward to it on the back of a good result and we can go in to it with a lot more confidence.”
Elsewhere, fifth-placed Bradford Park Avenue welcome mid-tablers Alfreton tomorrow.