Lions leave it late to secure National League status

Danny Lowe’s 90th minute header ensured that the Lions maintained their National League status for the second season in succession as they came from behind to secure the point that condemned Yorkshire rivals York City to their second successive relegation.

Prior to Lowe’s last gasp equaliser Forest Green old boy Jon Parkin had twice equalised for the Minstermen against his old club and leapfrogging the Lions in the process but joy turned to despair at Bootham Cresent despite the televised game finishing a good ten minutes after the match at Nethermoor had concluded.

Needing a win to secure their own destiny the Guiseley squad was down to the bear minimum as Will Hatfield, Jonny Maxted and Marcus Williams were all ruled out through injury although Jake Cassidy made a welcome return following his three match suspension.

In a nervy first half the home side were soon under pressure and when Ash Palmer conceded a dubious looking penalty it looked ominous, however, Dan Atkinson guessed right and saved the spot kick.

Palmer then came to his sides rescue after Amari Sterling-James had left Connor Brown for dead and drawn Atkinson for what looked like the opener before the defender’s timely intervention that cleared the danger.

Not to be denied however Solihull were awarded a free kick twenty yards out on 26 minutes which Omari Sterling-James lifted over the wall and beyond Atkinson to give the visitors a deserved lead.

In reply Kevan Hurst’s cross just evaded Michael Rankine and Derek Asamoah as the home side struggled to build any momentum clearly missing the energy of Hatfield in midfield.

Manager Adam Lockwood decided to ring the changes at halftime as Jordan Preston and Danny East replaced Palmer and Hurst from the restart which had an almost  immediate impact as Rankine headed just wide from a corner.

Lowe then cleared off the line from the lively Nathan Baxter as Guiseley went for broke and replaced Rankine with Adam Boyes.

James Wesolowski’s header was just wide of the target after some good work from Derek Asamoah’s to get the cross in as the Lions finally hit their stride with twenty minutes remaining.

Solihull were not finished and as the home side pushed forward in search of an equaliser Nortei Nortley flashed a shot across goal before Regan Charles-Cook rattled the crossbar only to see Atkinson dive on the loose ball.

In a last throw of the dice Jake Lawlor was pushed up front and went close as he forced Danny Lewis to palm his header away to safety.

The visiting custodian then saved Simon Walton’s free kick at the foot of the post and pulled off a superb one handed save to turn Jake Cassidy’s effort round the upright.

Now with their tails up Easts long ball saw Lewis and Lowe go for the ball with the Guiseley skipper converting the header to send the home support into raptures.

Four minutes of added time plus an agonising wait for the game at Bootham Cresecnt to conclude only added to the tension before the draw at York as confirmed and the Lions great escape from a seemingly hopeless position in mid-September was confirmed much to the delight of the fans, players and club officials.

Team:

17Atkinson

2 Brown

3 Lowe

15 Palmer (Preston 46)

7 Hurst (East 46)

6 Lawlor

11 Rankine (Boyes 55)

24 Walton

29 Cassidy

33 Wesolowski

34 Asamoah

Subs:

9 Boyes

19 Preston

22 Purver

23 East

25 Atkinson

 

Post match reaction:
Adam Lockwood
Dan Atkinson
Simon Walton
Danny Lowe