Injured Liam Waldock was the only change for Trinity, as Neal Bishop handed Fraser Preston a start, new Work Experience loan, Tyrell Sellars-Fleming starting on the bench.
A promising start was quickly shattered, when took the lead inside five minutes. Curtis Burrows’ left wing corner wasn’t dealt with – and as the ball looped across the face of goal -Todd Jordan applied the finishing touch, stabbing home from close range.
Going a goal down, sparked a response from the Blues as Fraser Preston cut in from the right to curl a left footed effort goalwards. Tom Jackson equal to it. Good service into Donaldson saw the front man too much to handle for the Belper centre backs. Preston’s freekick not troubling the Belper ‘keeper.
On the half hour mark. Clayton Donaldson combined with Curtis Durose, with a neat interchange, Trinity’s leading marksman bore down on goal, with Donaldson netting, to end his seven game goal drought. And putting the Blues back on level terms.
Two minutes later, Durose could have given Trinity the lead. Preston providing the pass to unlock the visitor’s defence, but Jackson was out to make himself big, and deny the Trinity goal threat. It wouldn’t be long to wait for Trinity to grab the lead though, eight minutes before the break Donaldson scored his second of the game and his fifth against Belper with an audacious near post finish from George Hornshaw’s centre. Hornshaw’s ball into the forward’s feet saw Donaldson turn in the box and smash his effort past Jackson before he could move a muscle, the ball crashing in off the post and nestling in the back of the net!
The Holy Blues were playing with a verve and a vibe, with the front three combining to play some wonderful football, only for Durose to maybe pull the trigger a little too soon, just before half time. Though not extending their lead, the Blues were demonstrating the ability to slice open the opposition.
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 2 Belper Town 1
The feeling at the start of the second half was that a third goal would kill the game as a contest, but the longer that went without coming to fruition the edgier the Blues’ approach play. Trinity huffed and puffed, creating some great openings, but ultimately unable to add to the score line. Bailey Conway was working tirelessly in the middle of the park, and when he won the ball back, Durose split the defence, Hornshaw bursting from deep was just squeezed out. The Holy Blues not able to profit from the set piece.
Rampaging down the left, Joe West delivered on the run, only for Donaldson to be denied his hat trick, by the body of Jackson. The goalkeeper completing his duties, by claiming the subsequent corner.
Fifteen minutes from time, George Hornshaw looked to add to his recent goal against South Shields, with a lung busting run from deep inside his own half. A neat exchange of passes with Donaldson on the edge of the box saw the full back through with only the ‘keeper to beat. Tom Jackson the busier of the two goalkeepers, again equal to the challenge. As frustrations began to bubble, Mr Cavanagh became increasingly busy with his notepad, half a dozen names finding their way into the book – in what wasn’t really an ill-spirited game.
The cards just doing plenty to slow the rhythm of the home side, and the Nailers dealt a hammer blow on the stroke of full time, when Rio Molyneaux was given too much time and space to deliver from the Belper right and Greaves ensured the basement side could move off the foot of the table, with the points shared. Trinity slipping to seventh, two places and a point off the final play-off spot.
Now, looking to get the play-off push back on track, the Holy Blues embark on two games away from home, next weekend travelling to Ashton United, before heading to Yorkshire to take on a resurgent Guiseley side looking to clamber above us, with any further points being dropped.
Matt Yates, George Hornshaw, Joseph West, Isaac Rice, Hayden Cann, Dylan Cogill, Curtis Durose (Jay Glover 77) Bailey Conway, Clayton Donaldson, Fraser Preston (Tyrell Sellars-Fleming 88) Harry Lewis (Jack Dyche 57)
Subs not used: Andrew Wright, Prosper Keto
Gainsborough bookings: George Hornshaw & Hayden Cann
Gainsborough goals: Clayton Donaldson 31 & 37
Tom Jackson, Ben Middleton (James Tague 89) Ben Algar, Harry Middleton, Tom Wilson, Todd Jordan, Rio Molyneaux, Charlie Reaney (Jake Avery 72) Jerome Greaves, Curtis Burrows, Brodie Litchfield (Jayden Cotterill 90)
Subs not used: Ben Rhodes, Alfie Smith-Eccles
Belper bookings: Ben Algar, Harry Middleton, Tom Wilson & Todd Jordan
Belper goals: Todd Jordan 5 & Jerome Greaves 90+2
Referee: William Cavanagh
Match report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photography: Kate Simmonds