AFC Telford 3 Guiseley 2

Guiseley went oh so close to gaining promotion for a second successive season and entering the top level of non-league football.

Cruelly a last minute winner from Telford’s Phil Trainer left their players in despair on the pitch – having to stand to one side and watch Telford receive their winners’ medals.

Despite the tears in the stands and on the terraces where Guiseley had a following of 500, this was not a time to be desolate, The team had put up a brilliant performance that more than matched their hosts, who were cheered on by 5,000 raucous fans.

The game was a lock out and it was obvious that referee Darren England would have a tough time with hysteria from the home crowd at every challenge.

Were the 5,000 partizan home fans screeching in a frenzy the catalyst to his decision to award a penalty for an alleged push on Trainer in the 11th minute?

Up stepped Sean Newton to take the spot kick and although Guiseley 'keeper Steve Drench went the right way and got his fingertips to the ball he was unable to keep it out.

Telford celebrated wildly but Guiseley held their nerve and came back with venom with midfielders Warren Peyton and Simon Baldry to the fore and centre-backs Simon Ainge and Danny Ellis colossal in their attempts to keep Telford at bay.

Guiseley got their passing game going and a succession of chances followed with Dave Merris having a shot headed clear, Peyton firing the rebound high and wide and Baldry and James Walshaw setting Darryn Stamp up with what looked an easy chance.

Maybe the striker had his mind on his nine-months pregnant wife back at home as he scuffed his shot straight at Ryan Young.

This looked a costly miss but a handball by a Telford defender gave Guiseley’s leading scorer James Walshaw a chance from the spot and the Nethermoor hero sent Young the wrong way to equalise, with a goal in the crucial minute before the break.

Spectators had hardly got back in their seats when Guiseley silenced the New Bucks Head crowd.

Walshaw wove his magic getting into the penalty box and crossing for Stamp to atone for his earlier miss by poking the ball home.

Stamp soon had a chance to make it 3-1 which would have really shaken the home side but his header went wide and then Peyton looped the ball up but Young grabbed it.

Merris went down with an injured groin and despite trying to continue had to be replaced 15 minutes from the end by Jerome Fitzgerald, who had spent much of the season out on loan at Chorley and had had to be picked up from Birmingham Airport on the morning of the game after his holiday.

Manager Steve Kittrick, who had the worry of his own father undergoing a serious operation on match day, made it a double substitution bringing on Joe O’Neill for the tiring Stamp.

O’Neill immediately broke into the box but had no support. Play went down the other end and it was a blow to Guiseley, who had dominated for the most part of this game, when Gavin Rothery conceded a free-kick out on Guiseley’s left flank.

Newton snaked the ball into the box and substitute Liam Murray got a vital touch to put the ball past Drench into the far corner of Guiseley’s goal to put the home side level and the crowd erupted.

Guiseley were playing well enough for their fans to believe that the game would go into extra-time. Indeed Walshaw almost provided them with a winner but Young managed to hold his low shot with O’Neill closing in.

With just three minutes of normal time to go Drench produced a magnificent save to deny Brown and then tipped another effort away as Guiseley came under siege.

Four minutes of added time were announced and just as extra-time looked a certainty, in the last minute of time added on, Luke Sharry, who had just come on to replace Rothery, slipped in midfield and lost the ball.

Jon Adams played in a cross which Trainer headed home to seal Telford’s return to the Blue Square Bet Conference after a seven-year absence and break Guiseley hearts.

When Guiseley reflect on this game they will realise that although their players may well be ready for the next step up their club maybe is not. Telford’s facilities are awesome and with 5,000 home fans they have gates to back their challenge.

Guiseley must now work on improving their facilities and gates to be ready for this challenge as with this bunch of players – with two or three additions – and the brilliant spirit at the club their time will surely come.

It has been an immense season for Guiseley following their promotion from the UniBond Premier Division last season. They were written off by the pundits before it even started but they proved everyone wrong with a season long interest in the play-offs.

They have played some superb football which also brought them the West Riding County Cup, a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy and a good FA Cup run.

Telford manager Andy Sinton said after the game: “Guiseley gave us a good game. All credit to them.”

AFC Telford United: Young; Salmon, Newton, Rodgers, Whitehead (Murray 42), Killock (C), Mills (Meechan 63), Trainer, Proudlock (Lawrie 64), Brown, Adams. Unused subs: Davies, East.

Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Merris (Fitzgerald 74), Peyton, Ellis, Ainge (C), Baldry, Boshell,, Stamp (O'Neill 74), Walshaw, Rothery (Sharry 87). Subs not used: Coates, Needham.