Conference: Thriving Lions are one game away from promotion

Guiseley manager Mark Bower congratulates his players.
Guiseley manager Mark Bower congratulates his players.
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GUISELEY are one game from sealing a place in football’s Conference after Saturday’s magnificent 2-1 victory at AFC Fylde sealed a 3-1 win on aggregate in the Conference North play-offs semi-final second leg.

A final date with Chorley now awaits next Saturday at 3pm with Chorley holding home advantage due to their higher-placed finish of third in the league.

Boosted by a 1-0 victory at Nethermoor in Wednesday night’s first leg, Guiseley went into the second leg full of confidence.

But the West Yorkshire side made the worst possible start conceding with only 20 seconds gone.

A through ball found Richie Allen who headed home to make the score 1-1 on aggregate.

But the Lions were quick to respond and nearly levelled immediately through an Andy Holdsworth free-kick which was well struck but had just too much power behind it and flew past the top of the goal.

Guiseley then had a spell of keeping possession and the Lions grabbed a well-worked equaliser with an inch-perfect Danny Lowe cross finding Danny Boshell.

Boshell rose above the AFC Fylde defence and calmly headed the ball into the net, which meant the sides were now level on the day at 1-1 but more importantly gave the team the lead on aggregate going into half-time.

While Guiseley were performing well in attack, they were also defending resolutely with all the attacking players getting back to help the back four when needed.

And goalkeeper Steve Drench commanded his area when crosses were being put into the box.

While Guiseley were playing well, it always felt like another goal was needed for the away side to not be at risk of losing the tie on aggregate and it soon arrived.

After clever work by Johnson, captain Holdsworth gained possession on the edge of the Fylde area and produced a wonderful strike which flew into the top corner of the goal, which sent the section of Guiseley fans behind that goal into a frenzy.

And in the end the Lions’ margin of victory could have been greater with Johnson working his way into the Fylde half and producing a well-placed effort which required a good save from Fylde’s keeper Ben Hinchliffe.

After the match a delighted Guiseley manager Mark Bower said: “I felt we were good value for the win over the two legs.

“I’m pleased to get to the final.

“Now we have a one off game to get to where we want to be.”