Blues’ boss Neal Bishop made a solitary change to the side that returned to winning ways on Tuesday night. George Hornshaw was restored to the starting line up, as Prosper Keto took his place amongst the substitutes. Fraser Preston was back on the bench, as Jack Dyche was again favoured on the left wing. And it was Dyche who looked to trouble the home side early on as he made progress down the left, his low cross across the face of the six yard box cut out at the near post by Macauley Wilson, before Clayton Donaldson could threaten.
Trinity were looking to press their hosts, and Hornshaw did well to win the ball back and release Durose down the right. Durose’s cross was agonisingly too high for Dyche arriving from the left, and with Joseph West retrieving the ball and delivering almost immediately, the Trinity forward line were back on their heels, allowing Hutchinson to come and collect. Hornshaw, Donaldson and Dyche combined enabling Liam Waldock a sight of goal, only to see the shooting opportunity quickly closed down, bravely blocked on the edge of the box.
Just past the midway point of the first half, Matt Yates made the first of a trio of fine saves. Blocking Aaron Skinner’s effort from close range after a floated ball from Fin Sinclair-Smith beat everyone, to land at the feet of the raiding left back. The sizeable crowd, wondering how Yates had kept the ball out, and the scores level.
Clayton Donaldson then teed up Bailey Conway, who kept his swept effort down, but it ultimately failed to trouble Hutchinson. Donaldson was occupying the Brig centre backs, with both sure to know they had been in a game. While at the other end, Hayden Cann and Dylan Cogill were strong in the challenge, Cogill doing well to block from Sinclair-Smith as Bamber Bridge finished the half strongly.
Half time: Bamber Bridge 0 Gainsborough Trinity 0
Two minutes into the second half, Curtis Durose, fresh from his two goals in midweek, put the Holy Blues ahead. Liam Waldock unlocked the home defence, and Durose gave Hutchinson the eyes to poke in at the near post, with the keeper committed to an effort he expected to fly across the face of his goal!
Gainsborough looked to extend their lead, but Bamber Bridge still looked a threat when Skinner was denied by a combination of Yates and Cann, when the full back again arrived unmarked five yards out, Trinity’s number one, in the right place to save. Joe West’s ball down the left freed Donaldson, only for the veteran to be denied with Hutchinson making a smart save low down to his left, as the Blues were unable to add to their tally. Substitute Harry Lewis volleying straight at Hutchinson shortly after.
Just after the hour mark, all action midfielder Bailey Conway went into the referee’s notebook for dragging down Sinclair. The youngster looking to press, giving him a tightrope to walk for the remaining half an hour, but despite being on a caution, this didn’t deter the mobile midfielder from covering the ground in the centre of the park.
Bishop made his second change as Fraser Preston replaced goal scorer Durose, with Preston almost immediately on the end of a Joe West centre, the referee spotting the slightest of nudges from the Trinity substitute. A burst of speed saw Rhys Turner forces Yates into another fine save from an acute angle. The home side unable to find the finishing touch, but credit to Jamie Milligan’s men who kept knocking on the door, asking questions of a strong Trinity rearguard action.
Jonathan Whitehorne was being called into action with increased regularity, working tirelessly to patch up Trinity’s battle-weary troops, that were beginning to run on empty. A clash of heads seeing Waldock require treatment, shortly after Cogill needed attention after an acrobatic clearance. As the game ticked into nine minutes of added time, Cann and Yates converged to concede a corner, as the visitors looked to hold out. But three minutes into added time, Aaron Skinner turned provider, crossing deep for substitute Donovan Lescott to loop a header up and over Yates to level the game.
There was still time at the other end for Macauley Wilson to make a match saving block, as Fraser Preston cut in from the right, letting fly, Wilson flung his body in the way to block and ensure the spoils were shared at Iron Gate.
Bamber Bridge: Luke Hutchinson, Sheldon Green (Donovan Lescott 80) Aaron Skinner, Matthew Thomson, Nathan Pond, Macauley Wilson, Issac Sinclair, Luke Mariette (Paul Dawson 68) Harry Scarborough (Rhys Turner 68) Connor Stanley, Fin Sinclair-Smith Subs not used: Christopher Churchman and Joseph Robbins
Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw (Prosper Keto 79) Joseph West, Isaac Rice, Hayden Cann, Dylan Cogill, Curtis Durose (Fraser Preston 65) Bailey Conway, Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Jack Dyche (Harry Lewis 55). Subs not used: Andrew Wright and Jay Glover
Referee: Elliott Bell
Preview written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos by Ruth Hornby (Bamber Bridge Official Photographer)