Guiseley travel to North Ferriby on Saturday with a two-goal advantage after goals from Adam Boyes and Oli Johnson capped a superb all-round team performance tonight.
The Lions suffered a setback earlier in the day when Supporters’ Player of the Year Steven Drench was hospitalised but, with the ever-reliable Steve Dickinson resuming goalkeeping duties for the second time in three games, the defence looked as solid as ever.
Visitors North Ferriby were making their first appearance in the Conference North Play-Offs whilst Guiseley were making their fourth consecutive appearance and the experience showed as, after a quiet opening quarter of an hour, the Lions gradually took control of the game and Johnson was foiled by Adam Nicklin’s outstretched hand.
The same player’s jinking run then set up a cross to the far post where Boyes headed the ball back across the six-yard box where Gavin Rothery was just unable to connect.
When Boyes beat the offside trap moments later he looked odds on to score but, with only Nicklin to beat, he put his shot the wrong side of the post.
Not to be denied however, when Mark Gray and Nicklin showed hesitancy just inside the box the big striker nipped in to slot the ball home for the opener on 37 minutes.
Dickinson pulled off a good stop at the foot of the post from Nathan Jarman’s free-kick and Russell Fry shot over from a good position shortly after as Ferriby exerted some pressure.
But they were undone again four minutes after the restart by the silky skills of Johnson, who danced past two defenders in the left channel before lifting a delightful ball over Nicklin to double the Lions’ advantage.
Jarman again tested Dickinson but found the home goalkeeper more than equal to his rasping free kick, and although United introduced three substitutes during the second half they were unable to make any impression on a solid Guiseley back four.
Indeed, the Lions could have increased their advantage but for Josh Wilde’s timely interception to take the ball off Boyes’ foot as he sought to drive home another of Johnson’s efforts that had been parried by Nicklin.
Despite Ferriby forcing several corners late on the Lions held firm to secure a crucial advantage, although Mark Bower will be well aware of the work that still needs to be done to progress.
9-Boyes 37 (Holsgrove, 86)
10- Johnson (O) 49 (Potts, 76)