A half of few real chances for either side saw Dylan Cogill and Isaac Rice again combining well at the heart of the defence to snuff out any real danger that saw the Colls looking for Bailey Thompson and Adam Haw. An outstanding corner almost provided Trinity's best route to goal in the first half. Curtis Durose's flag kick, flicked away from centre back Cogill's forehead. Inches away, before the referee broke up the play. Requiring a dropball with the Blues on the attack.
Matt Yates earned plaudits as he made a fine double save to repel the Colls. Diving away to his right to tip away Adam Rooney's effort before bravely blocking Luca Hansen's follow up attempt. Scunthorpe loan duo Sellars-Fleming & Harry Lewis combined well down the left, with Lewis delivering into the box, as Sellars-Fleming stooped to power goalwards - a last ditch defensive header deprived the teenager of his maiden Gainsborough goal!
Liam Waldock was first to the loose ball in the middle of the park, winning the free-kick, Trinity working Mackenzine Chapman with a thumping, Dylan Cogill thirty-five yard strike. But with the ball spilt from the grasp of Chapman, it was Colls first to react with Lafferty clearing for a corner. Durose's set pieces in the first half were on the money. Picking out Donaldson at the near post - he could not find a way past the 'keeper. Maybe more by luck than judgement, the goalkeeper found himself in the right place at the right time.
Confusion at the back for the Colls almost gave the Holy Blues the advantage, but the calmest man in the ground must have been Joel Amado, calmly sending his diving header back to his goalkeeper.
Half time: Atherton Collieries 0 Gainsborough Trinity 0
Colls started the second half brightly. Getting in behind, the Blues were grateful to Hayden Cann covering round well from full back to sweep up the danger. Trinity were getting drawn into the scrap, as both sides were competing against each other - and the playing surface. Atherton obviously a little more familiar with the conditions.
Sellars-Fleming, who worked hard for the cause, made way for the experienced Andrew Wright, as Bish looked for the battling qualities exuded by the club captain in the final twenty minutes or so.
A good foot in from Bailey Conway won the ball back for Trinity. Isaac Rice spraying the ball from left to right - releasing Durose down the right - he teed up Waldock. Unfortunately, the former Owl couldn't mark his fiftieth appearance with a goal, his first time right-footed effort wafting wide of the far post.
Munakandafa on, replacing Harry Lewis immediately looked a threat on the front foot. Getting to the byline, his cutback worked it's way to Wrigbt, who shaped to shoot. Not trusting the run of the ball to shoot first time, he had his pocket picked. Looking to counter, Colls won a free-kick on halfway, as Waldock was adjudged to have committed the foul. A booming switched ball, was exquisitely brought out of the sky by Marcus Cusani, winning his side a corner.
The subsequent corner drifted in by Colls' substitute Lenehan and the ball - and Matt Yates - were bundled into the back of net. Luca Hansen credited with the final contribution. Despite the protests - Mr Cox awarded the goal, and the hosts had a lead with seven to play.
It looked like Atherton had completed the perfect job on the Holy Blues. But this side don't know when they're beaten. Boss Bishop turned to midweek goal hero Fraser Preston, as the Colls celebrated their opening goal. And he was soon involved, a rare interplay saw appeals for a penalty dismissed, but with the ball loose on the edge of the box, Bailey Conway, encouraged to play higher, was first to react, firing a controlled drive through the crowded box - and through Chapman. Scoring his first goal for the club and salvaging a point at the same time.
The game turned into a watchable end to end basketball match in the final two minutes of normal time- and four additional minutes of stoppage time, as Colls' substitute Jay Fitzmartin raced onto a long clearance. Working Yates low down at his near post, before Hayden Cann smashed the ball off the underside of the cross bar, the ball somehow staying out! And ultimately, the spoils were shared.
A point gained.. at a tricky place to go.. Two sides who have drawn the most games in the league this season (thirteen apiece)... were probably, in truth, destined to finish all square! Now, down to five to play... up to fourth and in our own hands - it probably wasn't such a bad weekend after all!
Next weekend now is massive! At home to Warrington Town - Bish and the boys need your backing.. so spread the word out near and far - thanks to the generosity of Alfie's Sustainable Coffee & Blyton Ice Cream, all Under 16s can watch the Holy Blues for free when accompanied by a paying adult! Can we end the season with three 1000+ gates, and the points needed to secure a play-off spot?
Together, anything is possible!
Atherton Collieries: Mackenzie Chapman, Adam Rooney, Joel Amado, Ceisaire Lingouba (Jay Fitzmartin 63) Danny Lafferty, Luca Hansen, Ben Hardcastle, Oli Brown, Bailey Thompson (Clive Smith 89) Adam Haw (Jack Lenehan 73) Marcus Cusani. Sub not used: Gaz Peet
Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, Hayden Cann, Joseph West, Bailey Conway, Isaac Rice, Dylan Cogill, Tyrell Sellars-Fleming (Andrew Wright 66) Curtis Durose (Fraser Preston 83) Clayton Donaldon, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis (Luther Munakandafa 80). Subs not used: Prosper Keto and George Hornshaw
Colls goal: Luca Hansen 83
Colls booking: Clive Smith
Gainsborough goal: Bailey Conway 88
Referee: Mr Cox
Match Report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photo credit: Darren Murphy - NPL Photographer