It will be third versus second in Blue Square Bet North when Brackley Town welcome Guiseley on Saturday, but it will not be as keen a contest as it might have been.

The Lions were held to a draw at home by promotion-chasing neighbours FC Halifax Town last night, while Harrogate Town were beaten at Bradford Park Avenue.

This means that Guiseley’s title ambitions were diluted while Brackley’s hold on third spot was strengthened.

Steve Kittrick’s men are 12 points clear of Brackley but now 15 behind leaders Chester FC with only 21 points to play for.

The Lions do have Chester to play at home a week on Saturday but it would be almost impossible for them to gain maximum points from their seven remaining games given the scheduling.

The Halifax game was Guiseley’s third in five days and the Brackley clash marks the start of a run of four in eight days.

There could even be another couple against Halifax, who are Guiseley’s opponents in the West Riding County Cup final.

After Wednesday’s 1-1 draw, Kittrick said: “It was a fair result. I’m happy with a point from it.

"We might play them (Halifax) home and away in the play-offs yet but there are no pointers to those games. It doesn’t matter who won the league games - play-offs are different altogether.

“This Brackley game will be a tough one, and that is what we have to focus on. They are looking to make sure they are in the play-offs, while it looks certain we are now.

"After the Halifax game, we said to the players that we have to learn that the first ten minutes of each half are critical.

“We started well last night and Halifax couldn’t live with us but at the start of the second half they were on top, and that swung the game.”

Kittrick’s main concern has been keeping his players fresh as the games come thick and fast.

He has rotated well and so far been fortunate with injuries. Aaron Hardy and James Walshaw have also returned from suspensions.