Points make prizes – and if it means Mark Bower has to ensure another Guiseley late show tonight, then so be it.
Fresh from their last-gasp Skrill North weekend victory over Vauxhall Motors, thanks to Kevin Holsgrove’s strike, the Lions are seeking to back it up with another Nethermoor triumph against divisional big guns Stockport County this evening, mindful that they could be nicely positioned in the top nine if things go their way by around 9.30pm.
Bower’s troops head into the game seeking their fourth league win in five matches and the Lions chief believes the clock is finally starting to go around in their favour after some positive performances in the first half of the season didn’t bring the points return they merited.
Bower said: “We have actually taken a fair few points in the last few minutes of games. We won late on against Barrow and equalised late on against Altrincham and won with virtually the last kick on Saturday.
“To turn one point into three can make a massive difference and it was testament to the lads for keeping going. Their character is good as are their fitness levels.
“A lot of it at this level is down to self-pride and motivation and the lads must take a lot of credit for looking after themselves in the way they do. That’s really helped us.
“It certainly helped in the last few minutes on Saturday, although we really should have been four or five up, but it was still pleasing to get over the line.
“In the last two performances, we haven’t set the world on fire. But six points from two games at this stage of the season is what it’s all about.
“You watch Match of the Day on Saturday night and the Football League Show and read the Non-League Paper and so many managers say: ‘It’s all about the points at this stage of the season’ and not the performance and that’s what we are after.
“Earlier in the season, we weren’t getting the rewards for some of the performances we were putting in. Maybe things are evening up a little bit.”
Tonight is the first instalment of a double-header within the space of five days against the Hatters, with Bower set to make ‘one or two changes’ to freshen up his side tonight.
The Guiseley chief was delighted with the hour’s outing from ex-Hatter Oli Johnson on Saturday and he could come into his thoughts again, as could Michael Potts, who produced a good cameo off the bench.
On this evening’s test, he said: “It will be a little bit of a strange one playing them twice in quick succession. They are a side who had a really good run over Christmas and the New Year, although they had tailed off a little bit in the past few weeks and I know their manager was very disappointed with their performance at Gloucester on Saturday, so he will be looking for a reaction.
“We have got to be ready for that and make sure we take the momentum and good feeling you get from a last-minute winner into the game.
“With the nice weather and pitch drying it, it might help a game a bit more too.”
Tonight could also be a seminal evening in the season of Harrogate Town, who can jump into fourth place with victory at Altrincham, in arguably their biggest match of the season.
Action in the Evo-Stik First Division North sees Harrogate Railway visit Ramsbottom and Wakefield welcome Padiham.
Frickley are seeking to book their place in the final of the Doodson Sport Cup at the expense of visiting AFC Fylde tonight.
Garforth host Basford in the NCEL Premier, while Nostell go to Parkgate.
In Division One, Selby and AFC Emley welcome Dinnington and Teversal.
Pontefract Colls, Hemsworth and Knaresborough visit Hall Road Rangers, Worsbrough Bridge and Hallam.
In the third round of the NCEL League Cup, Brighouse host Long Eaton and Thackley go to Heanor.