The great escape is now well and truly on for Guiseley Vixens as they held their nerve to beat relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-2 and pick up their second league win on the trot.
Ellie Olds gave Guiseley the lead superbly with her first ever goal for the club before a rare header from Natalie Brace and a goal from Nikki Berko reclaimed the lead twice after Jennifer Kikomeko had hit back for the visitors.
Despite the eventual victory it was threatening to be an all-too familiar outcome for Glen Preston’s side for most of the match, with the Vixens dominating most of the proceedings without the scoreline to show for it.
Lauren Griffiths came agonisingly close to giving her side the lead after 15 minutes but her shot could only rattle the West Brom cross bar, while Berko was also played through one on one but could not beat away ‘Keeper Vanessa Kinnerley.
But the Vixens eventually got their reward just after the half hour mark as Olds volleyed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to bag her first goal for the club and make it 1-0 to put the home dugout into raptures.
West Brom were always a threat however and gave the Vixens a quick warning sign as they hit the post from a swift counter attack.
And it was a warning that soon came back to haunt the home side as Guiseley ‘Keeper Lauren Joyce saved well from a shot only for Kikomeko to rebound in for the equaliser.
It was a leveller that came as a huge shock to all in the Guiseley camp, as they ended the half all square having dominated for almost all of the first 45.
However, the Vixens didn’t let it get to them, coming out with the same intent in a much more end to end and open second-half, with Berko once again being played through only to be stopped by a last ditch tackle.
Ten minutes in however, Guiseley regained the lead in the most unlikely of circumstances, as Chantelle O’Hara’s corner found the head of Natalie Brace who nodded the ball in to make it 2-1
It could have been 3-1 not long after with Berko once again having a strong chance with only the ‘Keeper to beat until the West Brom defence were again on hand to thwart the attack.
And almost immediately after the away side went down the other end and won a penalty after a handball by captain Alarna Fuller, with Kikomeko burying the spot-kick to put her side level again with her and West Brom second.
With the continuing to barrel down and the Vixens once again having to reclaim their hard fought lead, it once again looked like all their missed chances would once again prove to be their undoing after they had only just claimed their first win of the season the week before.
However, patience and persistence finally paid off for the previously frustrated Berko, as a frantic scramble in the West Brom box saw her slot the ball past Kinnerley and put her bad luck in front of goal to bed with a vital third goal for Guiseley.
And from then on the Vixens never looked back, as they saw out a very tense and seemingly endless final period of the match without any major dramas to seal a second win on the bounce and move just four point from safety with three games in hand.
Words: Connor Craig-Jackon
Photo: Ian Stevens