Fraser Preston and Hayden Cann started on the bench. There was no place for Ty Sellars-Fleming who picked up a knock in training during the week, at parent club Scunthorpe United, rendering him unavailable for action. Bishop named himself amongst the substitutes for this one. Trinity started the game brightly, but immediately knew they would be in for a battle, an early challenge on Waldock, let the goal scoring midfielder know he would be in amongst a battle. Neither side were really able to get the ball down and play for long periods, but Trinity still had to be switched on to deal with the direct approach of the hosts. Hornshaw doing well to deal with the threat of Benjamin Smales-Braithwaite down the Guiseley left, taking a sore one inside the opening ten minutes.

Generally well shackled, Smales-Braithwaite became frustrated when disposed centrally by the tenacious Bailey Conway. As Conway looked to progress a counter attack through the midfield, the former Manchester City youngster, on loan to Guiseley from Barrow, became the first man into the referee’s notebook. Midway through the first half, Matt Yates handled well to relieve the pressure from a Guiseley corner, with Meppen-Walters and Trinity centre back Dylan Cogill involved in a titanic tustle under Yates’ crossbar. Meppen-Walters was then aware to snuff out the danger at the near post as Harry Lewis squared from the left.

Following good play down the right from Scott Bakkor, Isaac Rice was then equally as alert to defend the Trinity box. Leigh Whelan then tried his luck from 25 yards, but losing his footing, his effort didn’t trouble Yates as it drifted wide of Trinity’s number one’s left hand upright. Waldock was then adjudged to have fouled his opposite number, having played the ball, a stooping head. It didn’t look a free kick, but it presented a shooting opportunity, which the colossal centre back, wearing the number eleven shirt, would take. Meppen-Walters opting for finesse, rather than power, and having the steward behind the goal scampering to retrieve the ball that sailed over the perimeter wall.

On 32’ the best chance of the half came for the Holy Blues, when Donaldson dropped deep and swept the ball out to the left, where Joseph West was able to come forward, cutting in field and onto his right, West forced Cameron Mason into action. The ‘keeper gathering at the second attempt as Donaldson arrived, sniffing an opportunity.

It’s fair to say, both defences were on top in the opening period. West being equally effective at the back post, as Guiseley looked to gain good territory, while Cogill continued to deal with the threat of Meppen-Walters when the Lions’ centre back came forward for set pieces. Rice was relishing the battle alongside Cogill, as the robust Kallan Murphy continued to be a handful. The home crowd at times making for a very hostile atmosphere, when Wright was clattered from behind, and Donaldson swiped at Meppen-Walters, the referee booked Trinity’s leading marksman, to pacify the vociferous crowd.

Hornshaw defended well up against Boateng, before West did well to win a goal kick on the far side, dealing with the threat of Bakkor well. And the Holy Blues finished the half firmly on the front foot, with Donaldson, West and Harry Lewis combining, Lewis’ dangerous ball into the box stabbed away from the dangerzone. With Wright retrieving the ball heading towards the corner flag, Mr Graham blew for half time.

As the teams headed down the tunnel, there was time for one further blast of the whistle from the man in the middle and a flash of red as Trinity’s player boss was dismissed.

Half time: Guiseley AFC 0 Gainsborough Trinity 0

Despite the dismissal of Bish after the half time whistle, the Holy Blues made a substitution at the break, changed shape – and came out of the traps at the start of the second half flying! West and Wright combined to win a throw in, and West’s ball into the box wasn’t dealt with, and Waldock showed great composure on the ball to open up his body and place a neat side foot finish into the far corner.

The Blues, had the all-important goal. Now it would be up to the visitors to defend that lead. And that they would, like their lives depended on it! But it wasn’t to only be a backs against the wall, defensive performance, Trinity would show quality on the front foot as they looked to turn defence to attack – Rice was defending well against the physicality of Murphy and the guile of Bakkor, but when Lewis went up through the gears, before steering a ball into Dyche, Dyche’s spin on the ball so nearly had the forward in on goal.

A superb performance from Donaldson, with Dyche as his foil, provided the Holy Blues with a valuable out ball. The twin strike force occupying the two centre backs. Guiseley looked to test the Trinity defensive line, from a central free kick Murphy tried his luck with an acrobatic overhead kick attempt, before Assenso threw in an attempeed scissor kick: swing and a miss, both ultimately failing to trouble Yates.

The Lions were forcing the Holy Blues back, but a George Smith free-kick deep into the Blues’ penalty area was well taken by a dominant Yates to relieve the pressure. At the other end Dyche did well to get in down the right hand side, but as he cut in onto his left foot, he found options limited – and his shooting opportunity was squeezed out.

Wright was a vocal presence out on the pitch, driving his team mates on, leading by example it was his head on the ball, on a number of occasions, repelling the balls into the Trinity box. Lively Lions substitute Lewis Hey was presented with the best chance of the game for the hosts, but his finish lacked the composure after he found himself in an excellent position. Four minutes later, Hey again snatched at a chance, firing over the bar.

From the side lines, Darryn Stamp shuffled the pack Bailey Conway being replaced by Jay Glover and Hayden Cann replacing Hornshaw. A change of shape, that saw Dyche move to wing back. The re-jig invited more pressure – but created gaps for the Holy Blues to try and exploit at the other end. Andrew Wright’s free kick from halfway evaded everyone, except Dylan Cogill at the back post. He had all the time in the world to bring the ball down and pick his spot, but the centre back scuffed his chance, straight at Mason.

Donaldson escaped down the right, and following a coming together went to ground. Appeals for a penalty went unheeded, before at the other end, Trinity put bodies on the line forcing Guiseley back to halfway. That man Donaldson was again involved as his fierce effort from the angle was saved by Mason. Harry Lewis darting into the box, denied a corner as the referee pointed for a goal kick.

Nerves jangled as a minimum of four minutes of added time were added, but Trinity continued to counter press, believing attack was the best form of defence, as Guiseley threw the kitchen sink at the Holy Blues. Wright played in Donaldson down the right, the veteran squaring across the face of goal, Mason cutting out the dangerous ball, with Lewis well placed up in support.

A couple of set pieces were determinedly defended by the Holy Blues rear-guard, before Glover and Waldock combined to find Donaldson, the front man fouled as the ball fell kindly for Lewis to speed into the box – only for the referee to halt play and bring it back for the free kick.

The Blues looked to play for the corner, but play continued – and the Lions had one final chance to load the ball into the box, but the back line marshalled by the excellent Isaac Rice stood firm – and Matt Yates was able to secure clean sheet number ten of the season. A first one nil of the campaign – and a valuable three points on the road. The blueprint for the final nine games of the season.

Neal Bishop’s Holy Blues now embark on a run of three home games at the Dave Longstaff Martin and Co Arena, against Warrington Rylands, Nantwich Town and Marine, and we’ll need you, as we seek to make the Northolme a fortress in the closing weeks of the season! It’s time to turn out in force & paint the town blue – spread the word – and let’s get the town bouncing. With six of the last nine at home, it’s firmly in our hands as to what we can make of the season! You Blues!

The Teams

Guiseley: Cameron Mason, Kwame Boateng, George Smith, Ross Daly Isaac Assenso, Mark Lees, Benjamin Smales-Braithwaite, Leigh Whelan, Kallan Murphy, Scott Bakkor, Courtney Meppan-Walters.

Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw (Hayden Cann) Joseph West, Andrew Wright, Isaac Rice, Dylan Cogill, Curtis Durose (Jack Dyche 46) Bailey Conway (Jay Glover) Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis. Subs not used: Neal Bishop, Fraser Preston.

Gainsborough Goal: Liam Waldock (47)
Gainsborough Sending Off: Neal Bishop (45)
Attendance: 505

Match report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos by Alex Daniel and Paul Delaney