Boston United 1 Guiseley 1
SUPER sub Danny Sleath blasted home a second-half leveller to earn Boston United a deserved point against promotion rivals Guiseley – and keep up his incredible scoring record against the Lions.
The Pilgrims midfielder had been on the pitch for less than two minutes when he latched on to Ryan Semple’s deep cross into the visitors’ penalty area and calmly smashed the ball beyond the impressive Steven drench to cancel out Simon Ainge’s opener.
It was only Sleath’s second touch of the game.
But more incredibly, it means the 24-year-old has now bagged four goals in as many appearances for the Pilgrims against the Lions.
Both sides earned their place in the Blue Square Bet North after promotion from the UniBond Premier last season, and the two rivals are again going head-to-head as they bid to push even higher up the footballing ladder.
Following November’s goalless draw, the two opponents conjured up a thrilling encounter at the Jakemans Stadium, with both teams having golden opportunities to claim the three points.
Rob Scott and Paul Hurst ran the changes following the previous week’s FA Trophy defeat to Gloucester City.
Dan Haystead returned between the sticks while Gareth Jelleyman and Shaun Pearson sured up the defence.
Cecil Nyoni was drafted into midfield, while Ryan Semple returned to the wing and Danny Davidson took his place up front.
Dropping out were Mikel Suarez, Sleath, Shane Clarke, Jamie Yates, Marc Newsham and James McKeown, whose loan spell is now finally over.
Guiseley began the stronger and it took a brave lunge from Pearson to avoid danger when Liam Needham appeared through on goal.
Danny Ellis wasted a glorious chance for the visitors moments later when he put a free header off target.
But Boston found their feet on the boggy pitch and fought back.
Davidson saw a rare 20-yard volley fly inches off target before Pearson finished his marauding run forward by nodding Semple’s cross beyond Drench’s far post.
Rory Coleman is never one to shy away from a shot and saw two long-range efforts saved by Drench while, at the other end Joe O’Neill skipped through the United backline, only to blast his effort wide.
After the break Guiseley began to exert more pressure and Haystead was called upon to pull off a fantastic reaction save, getting down low to tip O’Neill’s flicked header away from danger.
The keeper then denied Dave Merris before Jelleyman headed away a Warren Peyton drive.
Haystead again pulled off the heroics, blocking James Walshaw’s drive before Lee Canoville put the loose ball out of play.
But from the resulting corner, Ainge found the net with a powerful 67th-minute header as the Lions faithful roared with joy.
But their joy was short lived as United immediately introduced Sleath and Clarke... and within two minutes the contest was all square.
The impressive Semple again got the better of Merris and put the ball into the box, where Sleath levelled things up.
With five minutes left, Guiseley thought they had snatched the three points, but Danny Boshell could only watch as his tight-angled drive crawled across Haystead’s goal and away from danger.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in a richly-entertaining game of football.
UNITED: Dan Haystead, James Cullingworth, Shaun Pearson, Lee Canoville, Gareth Jelleyman, Ryan Semple, Anthony Church, Cecil Nyoni (Shane Clarke 68), Rory Coleman (Danny Sleath 68), Danny Davidson (Mikel Suarez 82), Spencer Weir-Daley. Subs (not used): Marc Newsham, Jamie Yates. GUISELEY: Steven Drench, Ryan Toulson, Danny Ellis, Simon Ainge, Dave Merris, Gavin Rothery (Simon Baldry 75), Warren Peyton, Danny Boshell, Joe O’Neill, James Walshaw, Liam Needham. Subs (not used): Darryn Stamp, James Cotterill, Luke Sharry, Karl Martens.
Ref: Guy Stretton
For more interviews, reports and reactions, see the Boston Standard, out Wednesday.