HISTORY-MAKING Guiseley manager Mark Bower has spoken of his pride after the Lions were promoted to the Vanarama Conference for the first time – defying considerable odds in the process.
The Nethermoor men produced a marvellous comeback from 2-0 down at half-time to beat hosts Chorley 3-2 in a roller-coaster encounter.
All this came after a nightmare start which saw Guiseley only arrive 50 minutes before kick-off at Victory Park and then go behind after just five minutes.
But the Lions rallied to finally book their place in the Conference through the play-offs at the fifth time of asking.
Bower said: “It’s a nice feeling. I got the job in September of last season with the brief of consolidating then and getting promoted this season and that is those two boxes ticked.
“It’s a proud moment for me and Bosh (Danny Boshell) and Martin (Stringfellow).
“For me and Bosh, this is our first managerial job and the first season we have prepared a side from pre-season all the way through.
“The game epitomised our season. The M62 was closed and we had to take a massive detour and we didn’t get here until 10 past two and the referee wouldn’t put the kick-off time back.
“OJ (Oli Johnson) was also ill and it kind of summed up the whole season.
“At half-time, it was a pretty low dressing room. But I did sense there was that belief that we could cause them problems and get back into the game.”
The Lions made a terrible start as they conceded within five minutes after Andy Teague got his head onto a corner which went over the line into the goal, despite Guiseley goalkeeper Steve Drench’s best efforts.
Guiseley nearly equalised when Oli Johnson found Boyes, but his effort was well smothered by Sam Aston.
Chorley thought they had doubled their lead when Teague was found from a free-kick and he converted a free header, but the linesman’s flag went up.
But the respite was temporary and, from a Guiseley corner, Chorley were able to break with James Dean’s clearance finding Paul Jarvis, who worked his way into the area and struck a deflected effort past Drench.
Guiseley started the second half by putting Chorley under intense pressure and it soon paid off when a long through ball from Boshell found Adam Boyes, who controlled excellently before firing home just after the hour mark.
Boyes and substitute Liam Dickinson started to put the Chorley defence under intense pressure and a free-kick from Wayne Brooksby soon found the latter, who headed into the corner of the goal to draw Guiseley level on 73 minutes.
The comeback was then sealed five minutes later when Nicky Boshell tapped the ball home for the winning goal.
There was time for late drama when Chorley substitute Matt Flynn saw his header hit the underside of the bar.
But the visitors held on for a famous win to the delight of their 921-strong contingent of supporters amon an attendance of 3,418.
Chorley: Aston (Grundy 64), Ross, Jarvis (Mather 53), Teague (Flynn 47), Doyle, Winter, Hine, Whitham, Dean, Dorney, Cottrell. Unused substitutes: Almond, Burns.
Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Holdsworth, Hall, Lawlor, Brooksby, D Boshell, Boyes, O Johnson (L Dickinson 34), Rothery (N Boshell 64). Unused substitutes: S Dickinson, A Johnson, Stockdill.