Guiseley AFC 1 v 0 Darlington (Vanarama National League North)
The Lions saw former Football League side Darlington arrive at Nethermoor Park for the final home game of the 2018-19 Vanarama National League North season, knowing that victory would security their National League North status if both Ashton United and FC United of Manchester lost their matches.
It was an excellent start to the match by the home side putting Darlington under pressure straight from the whistle, the Lions thought they had made a perfect start on four minutes when Kaine Felix was brought down inside the area by former Lion Simon Ainge. However Quakers’ keeper Jake Turner made a great save to deny Kingsley James from the spot.
Just two minutes later, another long ball over the visitors defence saw Kaine Felix again outpace Simon Ainge, but the cross from Felix flashed across the six yard box missing everyone before running out for a throw-in to the visitors.
On sixteen minutes, the home side took the lead when Kaine Felix once again outpaced Terry Galbraith in the heart of the Darlington defence, before chipping the ball over the head of the out rushing Jake Turner into the empty goal to make the 1-0 to the Lions.
Guiseley should have extended their lead on twenty-six minutes when once again Kaine Felix got free on the right-hand side of the Darlington area, but his curling shot beat the visiting goalkeeper Jake Turner but the shot went just wide of the far post.
On forty minutes, the visitors had their first real effort of the half when a Jackson corner was met inside the six yard box by Saunders, his powerful header went just over Marcus Dewhurst crossbar.
A minute later there was a lengthy stop in the game as Kayode Odejayi went down with an injured knee. The striker was clearly in pain as he received treatment from Head Therapist Ash Proctor, Odejayi continued until the half-time interval where he then received further treatment which allowed him to come out for the second-half.
Darlington came out fighting in the second-half and it was the visitors who had the first effort of the half, when Stephen Thompson saw Marcus Dewhurst off his line and hit a shot from distance, which ended in the car park and never troubled the Lions keeper.
Will Hatfield was next to have an attempt on goal after fifty-two minutes following some nice work by Kaine Felix, his pass found Hatfield at the edge of the visitors area but his shot went just wide of Jake Turner’s right-hand post and out for a goal kick.
The visitors should have drawn level on sixty-two minutes, when Holness broke through the Lions defence to poke the ball under Dewhurst, but Cliff Moyo was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
On sixty-nine minutes, the Quakers’ had another effort on goal this time from Nicholson who turned in the box and hit a powerful snap shoot which Marcus Dewhurst managed to palm away from goal with an outstanding reflex save.
Darlington had the last chance of the game on eighty-three minutes, when Henshall should have levelled the scores, but he sliced his effort wide following an excellent run by Trotman to set up the chance. Guiseley defended really well in the second-half and fully deserved their clean sheet to win the game 1-0 and confirm their place in the Vanarama National League North next season.
After the game Cliff Moyo was awarded the Supporters Player of the Year Award and the Vanarama National League confirmed that at defeats both Ashton United and FC United of Manchester had been relegated to the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Speaking after the match joint manager Russ O’Neill said, “I’m really pleased for everyone at the club, but I can’t get away from it since the FA Cup run results haven’t been what we would have wanted, but we’ve had a job to do and everyone has been rock solid.
We are (as a club) debt free now for the first time in twenty odd years so we’ve got a good platform. The chairman, board, everyone has been solid and the players in the dressing room have given everything for this football club. We said when we were signing players that it had to be on character and every one of those players has shown that this season.
I’m just so pleased that we’ve got over the line by getting a win ourselves and we can enjoy the last week of the season and go into Saturday’s game away at Kidderminster with less pressure and we’ll see if we can finish on another high.”
Guiseley AFC – Dewhurst, Moyo, Cantrill, Halls, Digie, Garner, Felix, Purver, Odejayi, James, Hatfield (Subs) Langley, Worsnop, Dyche, Fowler, Clayton
Darlington – Turner, Trotman, Ainge, Galbraith, Jackson, Holness, Nicholson, T.Elliott, K.Elliott, Saunders, Thompson. (Subs) Wheatley, Maddison, Bascome, Burn, Henshall.
Goals – (Guiseley) Felix (16)
Attendance – 1,258