The start to the game couldn't have been more stark to that of last weekend's early blitz. Trinity looking nervy and edgy surviving an early scare when the usually ever reliable Matt Yates could only shovel Byron Harrison's centre to the edge of his box, Anthony Scully's follow up from eighteen yards, bravely blocked. Perry Bircumshaw then shot straight at Yates with the game less than seven minutes old. The Nantwich man coming out with the ball in a strong 50/50 with Hornshaw and immediately looking to pull the trigger.
Yates was out quickly to smother at the feet of Connor Evans as Nantwich continued to impose themselves on the game. And with the Holy Blues struggling to clear their lines defensively, or settle into any real pattern of play. Hewitt's corner was then glanced over the bar by Jonathan Moran, with Gainsborough at sixes and sevens.
Aidan Roxburgh crossed from the right, and Byron Harrison glanced wide of the far post, as once again the Dabbers made more of the forward running. Ten minutes before the break, the Holy Blues did start to see a little more of the ball, but frequently were masters of our own downfall. Telegraphed balls into the midfield, frequently picked off, preventing a sustained build up of momentum.
Clayton Donaldson fashioned a chance of his own, when he cut in from the right, firing left footed - his strike had plenty of fizz - but it was straight at Thomas Booth, between the sticks for the Dabbers. Two minutes before half time, Harry Lewis exploded into life spinning Okome and racing half the length of the pitch, but a superb recovery as Lewis pulled the trigger, saw Okome block out Lewis' effort. Trinity hadn't been at their collective best in the first half, but had those two opportunities before the break to give them something to build on. Ultimately, at the break it was the Blues though that would have been more grateful to have gone in at the break level. And an opportunity to regroup - and go again.
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Nantwich Town 0
Despite the below par first half, Bishop and Stamp gave the starting eleven the chance to atone for their first half levels. And started the second period much brighter. Donaldson spun in behind to break the Nantwich offside trap, and bearing down on goal, he brought the best out of Booth who stretched out a leg to divert the Trinity forward's effort away from danger. Joe West then struck well from distance. Booth again equal to the effort with a strong hand, behind for a corner. The set piece not coming to anything.
Eight minutes after the restart, Bish looked to change things up, throwing on Munakandafa for his debut. His presence on the park almost had an instant impact. Waldock pouncing on the loose ball on halfway, to wreak havoc as he played in Donaldson. The veteran forward, after some neat control to change his footing, found a way past Booth, but not the recovering defender, Bircumshaw back on the line. Trinity were knocking on the door. And when Donaldson saw his free-kick helped over the bar, the management team smelt blood. And went for the jugular.
Skipper Andrew Wright was sacrificed in favour of the more offensive Fraser Preston. The Dabbers looking susceptible under the Gainsborough pressure - the game becoming scrappy as Trinity shuffled the pack, Hewitt firing over, before Conway and Waldock went into the referee's notebook. Twenty minutes from time, Donaldson spurned a gilt-edged chance, heading straight at Booth from four yards out.
Direct running from Luther Munakandafa, saw him upended on the right edge of the box. Preston stepping up to curl the ball up and over the wall, but he couldn’t get the ball back down again. His left-footed effort a yard over the bar. At the other end, Yates was called into action as Harrison's flick on found Connor Evans. Yates doing well down to his left to keep the scores in an even keel.
Two minutes later, a high hanging Okome cross wasn't dealt with convincingly as Harrison pressed Yates, and despite Rice initially clearing off the line, Hewitt was on hand to bundle home. And with a quarter of an hour to play - Trinity had it all to do! The Blues rallied, Tyrell Sellars-Fleming was introduced. He replaced Bailey Conway, and latterly Dylan Cogill was thrown up top with Trinity now chasing a point at least... Sellars-Fleming looked lively in his ten minute cameo, but was well marshalled as he looked to get in behind. A good turn of pace promised something- Munakandafa appeared to be wiped out in the box when well placed - and Booth was booked deep into stoppage time for handling outside the box.
Despite a crowded penalty area - and two blue shirts arriving round the back. No one could provide the finishing touch - and Trinity were consigned to a Dabber defeat at the Northolme. Defeat, and disappointment, but less than 72 hours until we get to put it right, when we face Marine on Tuesday night in the rearranged fixture. Let's get the ground bouncing once again, and start another unbeaten run - together!
Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw, Joseph West, Andrew Wright (Fraser Preston 62), Isaac Rice, Dylan Cogill, Curtis Durose, Bailey Conway (Tyrell Sellars-Fleming) Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis (Luther Munakandafa). Subs not used: Hayden Cann and Jack Dyche.
Nantwich Town: Thomas Booth, Aidan Roxburgh, Perry Bircumshaw (Ivan Urvantev 89), Nathan Okome, Jonathan Moran, Troy Bourne, Jack Sherratt (Joel Connelly 89), Thomas Scully, Connor Evans (Dan Cockerline 85) Steve Hewitt, Byron Harrison. Subs not used: James Speake, Myiwa Malumo.
Gainsborough bookings: Joseph West, Bailey Conway, Liam Waldock
Yellow cards: Troy Bourne, Thomas Booth
Referee Mr A Wilson
Match report by Rob Hughes (@AATMMedia)