Play-Offs Beckon

Bishop’s Stortford completed a league double over Guiseley which ended the Lions’ run of nine consecutive wins and ensured that the title went to Hyde, who defeated Boston at Ewen Fields.

The home side had by far the larger share of possession but were unable to find a way past a resolute defence superbly marshalled by Sean Francis, and even when they did create an opening they found Tottenham loanee keeper Jordan Archer in fine form. Add to that the significant contribution of man-of-the-match Ali Abdullah and it’s easy to see how the Hertfordshire-based side have swapped relegation fears for mid-table safety.

Ciaran Toner was first to threaten for the home side, hitting a rising shot from twenty yards that brought a stunning save from Archer, who tipped the goal-bound ball over the bar, an action that was to set the tone for the afternoon.

The visiting custodian then turned a James Walshaw effort round the post after Toner had set up his colleague at the far post, while Dwight Gayle brought an equally fine save from Steve Drench at the other end. But when the Lions failed to clear their six-yard box on the stroke of half-time, Matt Johnson was on hand to fire past Drench and give the Bishops the lead.

Although the Lions laid virtual siege to Town’s goal in the second half, they were unable to find the crucial breakthrough as substitute Simon Baldry put a header over and Walshaw was inches away from converting Jamie Clarke’s cross before Clarke hammered a fierce shot against an upright only to see the ball ricochet out with Archer rooted to the spot. And so the Lions go into the play-offs for the second successive season in the knowledge that they will have home advantage should they reach the Final.

Entertainment value: ***

Star man: Abdullah (Bishop’s Stortford)

Teams: Guiseley – Drench, Clarke, Merris, Toner (Baldry, 53), Ellis, Ainge (Capt), Holdsworth, Wilson, O’Neill (Ellington, 73), Walshaw (Senior, 73), Boshell. Subs not used:  Burns, Giles.

Bishop’s Stortford – Archer, Lampe, Milton, Abdullah, Francis, Anderson, Gayle, Johnson, Sappleton (Jones 79), Prestedge, Melaugh (Redgrave 85). Subs not used: Lette Jallow, Craig, Dadson.

H/T 0-1

Scorer: Bishop’s Stortford – Johnson, 45

Att: 926

Referee: Mr Davidson

Next Up:

7:45 pm
Pre-Season Friendly

Avro vs Guiseley