Stalybridge made it three wins out of four as new manager Liam Watson continued to work his magic to beat an inconsistent Guiseley side 2-0. Mark Bower’s side once again spurned the chance to put daylight between themselves and the chasing play-off pack.
The Lions started brightly, but every cross seemed to finish up in the arms of Celtic keeper Ross Etheridge and the home side were rocked back on their heels on 26 minutes when Aidan Chippendale brought down a ball, took two strides and fired across Steve Drench into the far corner.
Guiseley replied with Wayne Brooksby’s cross rebounding off the wall for Danny Boshell to fire in a low shot that Etherbridge tipped round the post.
Worse was to follow shortly afterwards, though, as Danny Hall appeared to trip Chris Simm and, as the last defender, was given the obligatory red card, bringing the Lions down to ten men.
Ben McKenna hit the upright from a free kick as Celtic looked to press home their numerical advantage while Lions’ manager Bower sent on Liam Dickinson to shore up the defence on the restart, Nicky Boshell the player to be sacrificed.
Gavin Rothery replaced Wayne Brooksby on 53 minutes and nearly pulled one back, his powerful shot passing just the wrong side of the post.
The visitors continued to look hungry for the points and sewed the game up on 50 minutes when Alec Mudimu gave Drench no chance when he curled a superb shot into to the top corner to double the visitors’ lead.
Oli Johnson went close late on for Guiseley but saw his shot flash across goal and behind, while the home side had Drench to thank for keeping the scoreline respectable as he denied Stalybridge with two point-blank saves.
This defeat sees the Guiseley slip to fifth place in the table, sandwiched between Boston and Tamworth, both of whom have played a game more.
Guiseley’s extra game, one of four left to play, is at home to FA Trophy winners North Ferriby on Tuesday 21st March, and the Lions now need to regroup for the run-in as they seek a fifth consecutive play-off berth.
4-Holdsworth (Capt) (Hendrie, 80)
7-Brooksby (Rothery, 53)
10-Boshell (N) (Dickinson (L), 46)