Match report: Guiseley AFC v Harrogate Town

Guiseley boss Steve Kittick heaped praise on his makeshift back line after his side went to the Blue Square North summit with a 1-0 home derby win over Harrogate Town at Nethermoor.

Suspensions for defensive stalwarts Ryan Toulson, Danny Ellis and Simon Ainge meant the Lions gaffer had to place his faith in recalling James Cotterill alongside youngster Jake McEneaney and debutant Simon Baldry.

But you couldn't tell the trio – combining with first team regular Dave Merris – lacked experience together as they limited the visitor's chances before Joe O'Neill's 67th-minute strike ensured the new year got off to a perfect start.

And with fellow high-flyers Telford and Alfreton failing to pick up maximum points, Guiseley go into today's visit to Hyde United at the top of English football's sixth tier.

It's an incredible feat considering this is the Nethermoor outfit's first season at that level.

Kittrick enthused: "All the results elsewhere went our way, so we couldn't really have had a better start to the year. We're top of the league.

"I thought Harrogate only had one chance the whole game. I thought we played very very well in a tough local derby.

"Our defence was excellent. Young Jake is 19 years old and hasn't played a lot of football but I had faith in him and he's done ever so well. Dave Merris was excellent as well, he was the man of the match for me.

Simon Baldry proved he's a good player. I brought him to the club because he can play in any position and he'll turn out wherever he's asked to and that's what he did."

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver made no secret of the fact he would be setting his team to try and earn a draw.

And despite a period of steady pressure in the opening 30 minutes, Town found themselves on the back foot through much of the game.

Strong tackling from centre half pairing Jake Picton and Richard Pell as well as a goalline clearance from Dominic Roma limited Guiseley to a solitary goal.

But Kittrick believes the heroics of shot stopper Mark Cook were the main reason his team's lead was kept down to the minimum.

He said: "For me, their goalkeeper was their best player by far. He made three or four saves to keep them in it.

"Simon Weaver said before the game that he was putting his stall out to come for a point, so I think our win was well deserved."

The result was Harrogate's fourth consecutive league defeat and saw them drop to 14th in the table, although Weaver was happy with his side's commitment.

The Town manager said: "I thought the performance was far better than the last couple that we've seen. The commitment level was superb, and every time we train and turn up for a game, we have to be so focused and give absolutely everything."

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