Survival ‘absolutely huge’ for Guiseley – Phil Rogerson

Guiseley goalscorers Will Hatfield and Oli Johnson celebrate at the end
Guiseley goalscorers Will Hatfield and Oli Johnson celebrate at the end
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GUISELEY chairman Phil Rogerson can give chapter and verse when it comes to tumultuous end-of-season matches.

He has witnessed last-day despair and heartache, but Saturday’s events topped the lot.

A see-saw evening ended with the Lions celebrating National League safety at the expense of Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town after a 4-3 win over Torquay United in front of almost 2,000 Nethermoor fans.

For drama, it bore comparison with Guiseley’s promotion-clinching Conference North play-off final victory at Chorley almost a year ago, although Rogerson says that Saturday’s win represented the sweetest yet in his time as chairman.

Rogerson said: “The relief was palpable, particularly with the way we did it after being 3-0 up and being pegged back.

“It had similarities with Chorley and was also reminiscent of our UniBond promotion season where we had to wait two or three minutes for the result at the other end to come through.”

On what retaining their divisional status means for Guiseley, at the end of their first season at this level, Rogerson added: “It’s absolutely huge.

“The problem with relegation is that momentum just goes and Saturday was probably bigger than last year.

“We have been through all the hard work and the learning curve and now, hopefully, know what needs to be done now.

“For it all to have been snatched away from us would not have been good.”

While Guiseley were rightly basking in the glow of clinching safety, it is fair to say that many rival supporters – and not just those at relegation competitors – did not offer much goodwill in their survival fight.

It was a legacy of the Lions’ controversial 1-1 home draw with Braintree on February 27 – Guiseley criticised for what many deemed to be unsporting behaviour after an equaliser from Oliver Norburn that became the talk of non-league football.

But Rogerson, who admitted at the time that the incident was ‘unfortunate’, says that result had no implications on their destiny, with Guiseley securing survival regardless of that point.

He said: “The goal ultimately made no difference.

“Braintree got into the play-offs and we would have stayed up without that point with our goal difference because Halifax had a horrendous run of games where they shipped about 20-odd goals and that is what relegated them.”