The Blues looked to go after Marine in the early stages with Harry Lewis and Munakandafa ever willing outlets on the flanks. On one occasion, the man on loan from Notts County cut in from the right, though passing up the chance to shoot, George Hornshaw got up well on the overlap, got to the by-line and cut back for Donaldson. As he tried to fire goalwards, young Bailey Passant, between the sticks for the visitors, got down well to block at the veterans’ feet. Donaldson and Josh Wardle of Marine were enjoying a good battle with each other, the centre half getting a bit close to the forward on one occasion, as a ball from Joseph West looked to pick out the forward, but Trinity’s leading marksman was sent tumbling. Referee Mr Hibble unmoved as he allowed play to continue.
Munakandafa was providing a threat on the right, and he flashed across the face of goal. Donaldson and Waldock up in support, but neither could get there, just too much power and height on the centre, but promising times as the winger showed he had the ability to pose problems on the front foot. At the other end Marine had a half chance when Jordan Lussey opted for a short throw, rather than his normal longer offering. Joshua Soloman-Davies crossing for Soloman, but the forward was unable to generate the power and direction to trouble Matt Yates. Yates was out bravely at the feet of Joe Bunney, threaded through, the Marine forward bore down on goal, but a good block from Yates, as he narrowed the angle, denied the visiting forward.
Composed play, back on the edge of his own box, Waldock took the ball under his spell brilliantly. Controlling and turning, almost in one movement, completely deceiving his man, with Charley Doyle ending up in the referee’s notebook for his troubles. Trinity’s number one was then called into action again as he had to get down quickly to deny Soloman. Bouncing quicky back to his feet, to snare the loose ball, with the visiting attacker sniffing for any opportunity that may present itself.
Dogged defending from Bailey Conway saw him win the ball back and find Waldock. His tidy flick found Harry Lewis who looked to release Munakandafa over the top. Passant read the danger well to sweep, but his clearance only fell as far as Waldock. Liam took a touch, and wanted a little too much time, passing up the opportunity to lob the retreating ‘keeper. William Johnson’s clearance then fell to Cogill on the halfway line. He needed no second invitation, as first time he arrowed one back over Passant’s head, a couple of yards wide of the target!
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Marine AFC 0
Neither side made any changes at the break, but Marine came out of the traps quickly at the start of the second half and were indebted to Matt Yates as he was equal to a pile driver from left wing back Kyle Hayde. Coming forward, the left sided player forced a strong two handed save from Trinity’s goalkeeper to beat the effort behind for a corner kick.
The game was bubbling away, with Hornshaw looking a threat down the right, as he linked up with Munakandafa, but one cross on the run that found Lewis, arriving in space, wouldn’t have counted. The eagle-eyed Assistant having seen the ball cross the line. Saving Lewis’ embarrassment as he header fell the wrong side of the post.
Centre back, and the man with the armband, Isaac Rice defended well, but had to concede the corner, as he showed good strength. Marine getting the corner horribly wrong, as with a crowded six yard box, the corner went behind for a Trinity goal kick, before it had reached the six yard box. West and Waldock combined to find Donaldson, who dropped into a pocket of space, turned and struck a fierce effort a yard over the top of Bailey Passant’s crossbar. The goalkeeper with more than a passing interest as the ball fizzed rather narrowly over his goal.
Marine weren’t laying down without a fight though, and fizzed a number of dangerous balls into the six yard box. Yates showing good hands to secure possession for the Holy Blues before the danger became increasingly apparent. Waldock was looking to pull the strings, as Bailey Conway continued to sit in front of the back four, offering a protective shield, competing up against the mammoth Bunney, up top for Marine. Conway was also involved going forward, as he found the ball into feet, which enabled the winger time and space to turn and shoot – his effort had the power – but didn’t trouble young Passant.
As the visitors started to ask more questions of the Trinity rear-guard, Bish and Stampy turned to the bench and the threat of Tyrell Sellars-Fleming. Sellars-Fleming, with more time to make an impact, that’s just what he looked to do. Conway continued to impress, covering every blade of grass. When he was fouled in a good position, Harry Lewis delivered the free-kick deep to the back post. As it hung in the wind, Passant had to react to stop the ball dropping kindly for the Holy Blues.
Sellars-Fleming then had a great opportunity to open his account for Trinity when Joe West angled a ball across from deep. Tyrell controlled brilliantly as the ball dropped over Josh Wardle’s head, but Passant quickly smothered at the feet of the teenage forward to keep things level.
A Jordan Lussey long throw saw Marine score from close range. Only for the Lilywhites joy to be short lived. Mr Hibble spotting a foul in the build up, and Trinity wouldn’t look back from there. West got forward on the overlap and dug out a deep cross to the back post, the finish escaping Curtis Durose arriving late, as the ball dropped over the head of the last man. Andrew Wright and then Fraser Preston entered the fray as the minutes ticked by. Wright replacing the impressive Conway who had picked up a knock. Harry Lewis being replaced by the former Boston United and Alfreton Town wide man.
Yates had to be alert as the ball was stabbed back towards his goal by a blue shirt, Yatesy’s reaction to clear the danger, a vital twist in the tail that was about to come. As three minutes added time were indicated, Marine saw a shot from range, comfortably gathered by Yates. Liam Waldock clipped the crossbar with a sublime effort from the right hand apex of the area, his effort drifting over the outstretched arm of Passant after good interplay between Hornshaw and Preston teed up the midfield maestro. And with that. All hope of snatching all three points seemed to have escaped Bish’s boys.
But no one in the Trinity camp had read that script as then, with thirty seconds to play, Donaldson dropped deep to link the play, sweeping the ball out to Durose. Purposefully Durose drove over halfway, before delivering Beckham-esq into the path of substitute Fraser Preston. Preston taking a touch before nudging past Passant, to raise the Northolme roof. The joy was tangible, the despair etched on the faces of the visiting Lilywhites.
The Holy Blues securing a vital win, that propels them back into the play-off spots, with six games left to play. The play-off dream fully alive and kicking. Now though, focus turns to Saturday’s game away to Atherton Collieries. Let’s go, and see where we are after six more cup finals, the Trinity rollercoaster continues to gather pace!
Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw, Joseph West, Bailey Conway (Andrew Wright 78), Isaac Rice, Dylan Cogill, Luther Munakandafa (Tyrell Sellars-Fleming 60), Bailey Conway, Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis (Fraser Preston 83). Subs not used: Hayden Cann and Jack Dyche.
Marine AFC: Bailey Passant, Joshua Soloman-Davies, Kyle Hayde (Sean Smith 63) Mark Howarth, Josh Wardle, William Johnson, Jordan Lussey, Charley Doyle, Joe Bunney (Ben Hodgkinson 60) Sol Solomon Lucas Weir (Joseph Hardy 78). Subs not used: Germano Mendes and Luke Clark.
Gainsborough booking: Andrew Wright
Gainsborough goal: Fraser Preston 90+3
Marine bookings: Soloman-Davies, Jordon Lussey and Charley Doyle
Referee: Mr Lee Hibble
Sponsors Man of the Match: Joseph West
Match report by Rob Hughes (@AATMMedia)
Photos by Russell Dickens