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Gavin Rothery pops up with late Guiseley leveller
Guiseley 2, Altrincham 2
A last-gasp equaliser sent the Guiseley fans into delirium and Gavin Rothery on a lap of honour as his side rescued a point.
Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham had wrestled the initiative back from the hosts in a ding-dong Skrill North encounter.
The visitors were 2-1 up going into the three minutes of stoppage time and had looked like hanging on.
It had been a gripping contest from the start and it exploded into life when the deadlock was broken after only seven minutes.
The Lions won a free-kick and skipper Andy Holdsworth whipped it into a packed area, where Alex Johnson’s glancing header flew past goalkeeper Stuart Coburn.
But the lead only lasted ten minutes as the visitors came back strongly. They tested the home defence even before the corner that picked out centre back Gianluca Havern, who converted with a firm header.
Guiseley came close to retaking the lead just before the half-hour mark when Wayne Brooksby’s corner to the near post was almost smuggled in but just stabbed out for another corner.
The home side were in the ascendancy throughout the first half but just fell short of finding a second goal.
Sinnott made one change at the break and Altrincham dominated the opening period of the second half.
Lions keeper Steve Drench had to dive backwards to claw a deflected James Walshaw effort out. The former Guiseley man was not to get a goal against his old club on this occasion as he was substituted just after the hour.
Coming on in Walshaw’s place was Damian Reeves, another player who had a spell at Guiseley, but he was also denied by Drench on his return.
But sixth-placed Alty did get their second goal, taking the lead for the first time in the 69th minute following a good attack.
A low centre struck the leg of an attacker, taking it away from goal but into the path of Carl Rodgers, who side-footed in from the edge of the six-yard box.
Guiseley responded and the game became very open and was still in the balance when the three minutes of stoppage time were signalled.
Even that time had elapsed when a free-kick, just inside Guiseley’s half, was launched forward by Drench.
The ball was headed on, dropped in a packed area and was drilled in from an angle by Rothery. There was not even time to restart the game.
Lions boss Mark Bower was both happy and relieved, saying: “It felt like a victory because of the circumstances. We deserved something from the game and it keeps the unbeaten run going.
“It showed the character of the players we have in our squad and it was a very hard-earned point gained with some of our regular players out.
“I thought we played very well and were on top. Even when they had a good spell at the start of the second half, we created the best chance at that time.”