GUISELEY welcome Steve Kittrick back into the dugout in celebratory terms for the first time in nine years, as the new Lions manager celebrated his return to the club with a crucial three points on Tuesday evening.

The Lions announced that Marcus Bignot, Russ O’Neill and Paul Clayton would also depart the club on gardening leave and that Kittrick had been reinstated until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Heading into the fixture, Guiseley were five points adrift of Blyth Spartans and safety, but thanks to goals from Dom Tear and James Gale, the Lions have closed the gap to just two points.

Speaking after the game, Kittrick praised the resilience of his newly acquired squad, saying: “We stuck to a game plan. I’m lucky enough that for the last two or three months I’ve been coming to Guiseley and last Saturday I went to Farsley, so I knew how they played.

“But it’s a great result and it’s great for the fans, it’s good to be back but we’ve got another three or four wins to find haven’t we, but that has put us back into it and everyone will be looking around now as we’re going forward, so it is fantastic.”

Despite the eventual three points, Kettering started the game on top as Connor Barrett saw an effort smothered by Mansfield Town loanee Owen Mason, before Connor Johnson headed over the bar from close-range.

The Lions would find their breakthrough on 16 minutes however via former Halifax Town and Huddersfield Town winger Dom Tear.

Josh Stones, who has reportedly been of interest from EFL clubs in recent weeks after his fine form in the English schools program, drove through on goal and cut back into the path of Tear, who calmly converted past the outstretched Jackson Smith.

Kettering would have one final chance before the break to level the scores, as Decarrey Sheriff flicked the ball up for himself and volleyed goalwards, but his audacious effort rolled wide of the target.

Heading into the second half, the Poppies continued to grind for an equaliser, as Rhys Sharpe led a counter attack and hammered the ball towards goal, only to strike Mason’s post before it was scrambled clear.

But with just over ten minutes left of the match, Guiseley snuck in their second through Mansfield loanee Gale, who had come on as a substitute in place of Tear. A well-orchestrated move found John Johnston on the wing, who crossed into the path of Gale who could smash the ball past a helpless Smith in goal.

Guiseley would have one more chance before the final whistle through Lebrun Mbeka, as Gale fed the ball into the midfielder but Smith did well and forced a strong stop to keep the deficit to three goals- Guiseley securing a phenomenal and crucial 2-0 victory.

The Lions are next in action on Friday for their 15:00 kick-off against title challengers Gateshead.

With not long left to perform the great escape in avoiding relegation, can the Lions get another vital three points?