Making a solitary change to the side that drew with Warrington Town seven days ago, Fraser Preston was rewarded with a start, coming in for Luther Munakandafa who started on the bench. It was almost a perfect start for the Holy Blues, getting in down the Dolly Blues’ right hand side, but Harry Lewis saw his cross scrambled away before Donaldson could pounce.
The hosts quickly adapted to the game, with right wing back Sam Bailey working Matt Yates with a direct free-kick that he bent round the Trinity number one’s four man wall. Yates with everything behind the shot. Yates appeared to be the busier of the ‘keepers early on, when he was called into action to gather Sam Bailey’s deep centre. The Gainsborough ‘keeper was grateful for alert defending from Dylan Cogill shortly after when veteran David Norris, at 42 years young, nipped in ahead of Yates, but with Cogill sweeping round to tidy up, the danger was averted – albeit only temporarily.
Charlie Bailey opening the scoring on nine minutes, when he opened up his body to curl sublimely past Yates from twenty-five yards, as the Holy Blues were a little slow to press the ball from Kyle Brownhill’s quickly taken throw in. A goal of real quality, that encouraged a further effort from namesake Sam – the full back trying his luck with a skimming right-footed effort from thirty-five yards – that zipped a yard or so wide of the far post.
Trinity responded when Preston came in off the right hand flank, working a shooting opportunity. His low curling effort well collected by Sam Waller down to his right hand side. Donaldson linked well with Harry Lewis, who was sent scampering through on goal – sent tumbling – the referee waved away Trinity appeals, to the dismay of the sizable travelling Trinity contingent gathered on the vast open terrace, behind the goal which the visitors were attacking.
Preston was beginning to exert an influence on the game, and as he combined with Liam Waldock and Donaldson, Lewis was teed up, and his steered effort from the left hand apex of the box took the slightest deflection, winning another corner for the side from Lincolnshire. Preston delivered a ball with decent pace, that troubled Woodthorpe, charged with defending the near post, his glancing header diverting the ball kindly, into the path of Hayden Cann. Cann, the centre back, knowing little about it as the ball struck the defender, his telling touch taking the ball past the despairing Waller in the Lancaster goal.
Against the run of play perhaps, the Blues, in grey were back on terms. Trinity weren’t to be on terms for long though. Less than three minutes later, Gainsborough led. Dylan Cogill diving full length to glance a header towards the bottom rght hand corner. Despite the best attempts by the man on the line – the eagle eyed assistant – flagged to say the ball had crossed the line. And who’s to argue? He had the best view in the ground to see that the ball had crossed the line. The Holy Blues taking the lead into the half time interval.
Half time: Lancaster City 1 Gainsborough Trinity 2
Rudy Misambo replaced Pawel Zuk in the only change at the break, for the hosts. And Lancaster came out chasing an equaliser. A Sam Bailey long throw caused problems, with Brad Carroll denied by some quick thinking from Yates, getting out bravely at the feet of the former Workington Reds man.
Waldock and Preston combined, and with Hornshaw galloping up on the overlap, sent over an early cross. Donaldson stooped to head goalwards, but saw his header blocked before he failed to make a true enough contact to trouble Waller from an acute angle. Donaldson then had a fine chance to make it three for Gainsborough, as he spun and ran in behind but Waller was out bravely at the forward’s feet, to thwart his attempt at goal twenty of the campaign.
A good take and quick release from Yates saw Harry Lewis nip in between the final man and goalkeeper Waller, but the fleet-footed winger couldn’t get his effort down quickly enough, as his dipping half volley failed to trouble the scoreboard operators.
Yates was involved again, down at his near post as Sam Bailey combined with Brad Carroll down the Gainsborough left. Hornshaw completing the goal-line clearance to keep Trinity’s nose in front.
A double change prompted a tactical switch for the Blues. Respecting the threat of the opposition, Prosper Keto was given the license to thrill down the right – and he was immediately into the thick of the action. His energy driving play-off chasing Trinity forward. Sam Bailey then had a sighter of goal, striking the ball well enough – fortunately for Trinity, the Lancaster man couldn’t find the target, as the wing back found himself arriving, unmarked, in the Gainsborough box.
As time approached the ninety minute mark, Keto was involved in winning Trinity a corner. Taken short, Munakandafa tried to fashion a shooting opportunity, before Waldock was felled twenty-five yards from goal. Second scorer, Cogill fancied his chances from the deadball. But his effort sailed harmlessly over the top of the bar.
As the referee indicated a minimum of six additional minutes worth of playing time, stoppage time nerves began to jangle – would Trinity be able to hang on? A coming together in the Gainsborough box saw home appeals for a penalty. Deemed six and two-threes, the referee settling for a drop ball to restart proceedings. To the dismay of the home support. That, and the sight of Sam Waller joining the attacking ranks for a final throw of the dice from Mark Fell’s men, were safely navigated.
The Giant Axe’s fortress penetrated, and defeated for only the second time in eleven home games. The Dolly Blues have been in great form at home in 2023, but Bish and Stampy’s blue and grey army pay no attention to side’s previous form and results. They’re only interested in the here and now. And that ended in victory for the Blues.
Up to fourth in the league, three games left to play. There’s less than 48 hours rest, before Gainsborough welcome Liversedge to the Northolme on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm kick off). It’s now the chance to cement our place in the play-off positions. With numbers through the gate, we as supporters can do our bit! Are you with us?!
Sam Waller, Sam Bailey, Kyle Brownhill (Jake Connelly), Pawel Zuk (Rudy Misambo 46) Nathan Woodthorpe, Calen Gallagher-Allinson, Matty Tweedlley, Christian Sloan, David Norris, Charlie Bailey (Nic Evangelinos) Brad Carroll
Subs not used: Owen Robinson & Dom Lawson
Lancaster goal: Charlie Bailey 9
Matt Yates, George Hornshaw (Prosper Keto) Isaac Rice, Bailey Conway, Hayden Cann, Dylan Cogill, Fraser Preston (Luther Munakandafa) Curtis Durose, Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis (Joseph West)
Subs not used: Andrew Wright & Tyrell Sellars-Fleming
Gainsborough goals: Hayden Cann 42 Dylan Cogill 45
Gainsborough bookings: Bailey Conway, Isaac Rice & Dylan Cogill
Referee: Mr Jonathon Wyatt
Match report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photo credit: Michael Porter Photography (@mickporterphotos)