BLYTH Spartans forced their way into the play-off places in the Vanarama National North, temporarily at least, with a 2-0 win against struggling Guiseley at Croft Park.

The home side scored an early goal but the Spartans’ three-point maximum was not ensured until they netted a second, in the penultimate minute.

The defeat leaves the Lions still just one place above the drop zone but, with Ashton United also losing, the gap remains four points and there are now just two games remaining.

Blyth took a 12th-minute lead following a mix-up in the Guiseley defence. No one took the responsibility to clear the ball which allowed Dan Maguire the time to see that Kieran Green was in a better position and he laid it on a plate for his team-mate.

The Lions had a half-hearted penalty appeal for a foul on Alex Purver and Will Hatfield had an effort saved by home keeper Peter Jameson following a long throw-in but the home side took their one goal lead into the break.

Guiseley put plenty of pressure on the home defence in the second half and their management duo Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neil made positive substitutions as they chased down an equaliser.

But it was all to no avail and the Spartans snatched a late goal to double their lead when a set-piece led to a bullet header from Nathan Buddle.

The Lions now face a tough home game against Darlington on Easter Monday.

Bignot was left wondering what might have been. He said: “At any level you can’t start a game like we did and concede in the manner that we did.

“The timing of the goals was a factor in losing but between those goals we’ve played well, their manager (Blyth boss Alun Armstrong) has come off the pitch and can’t believe why we’re down there.

“We can control our own destiny on Monday though. Everyone is looking at the Darlington game and we’re in a good position being four points clear of Ashton, who lost today, with just two games to go.

“The players know that three points will make the club safe so lets get over the line and what a way to do it, in front of our fans at home. Then we can start to look to next season.”