Blues’ boss Neal Bishop rang the changes with no fewer than five changes to the side victorious on Easter Saturday. Prosper Keto came in for his first start since the 6-2 win over Marske United back in February. Joseph West replaced Hayden Cann in the back line as a reshuffle saw Isaac Rice resume his central defensive partnership with Dylan Cogill. Club Captain Andrew Wright slotted into the middle of the park, as Bailey Conway started amongst the substitutes. And Luther Munakandafa and Tyrell Sellars-Fleming started up in support of Clayton Donaldson, with Harry Lewis & Fraser Preston, ready in reserve.
Making so many changes to the starting line up, made for a fragmented first half, with few chances, for either side, though Sellars-Fleming looked to grasp his opportunity, with a performance that belied his tender years. His close control and hold up play, a joy to watch. One moment saw Donaldson nod a Cogill ball down for Sellars-Fleming, and the youngster looked to play in the centre forward, the two were threatening in their link play – and that should have perhaps served as a warning to the Liversedge back line.
The Blues’ rear-guard were coping comfortably with the attacking nous of Liversedge leading marksman, Nathan Cartman, who was restricted to one half chance, when he did well to control a Nicky Walker cross, but his shot from eighteen yards was quickly charged down by Joseph West, round on the defensive cover.
And, as it was Sellars-Fleming who provided the real moment of quality in the first half, when the Blues’ youngest player combined with the oldest. Not content with being involved in the build up, he got himself into position to control Donaldson’s ball into feet – turn and fire past the helpless Jordan Porter from the edge of the box. A composed finish that went a long way to settling Trinity down.
Though the Blues did avoid a mini scare just before half time, when a moment of pinball in the Gainsborough box was brought to an end, with Yates pouncing on the loose ball.
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 1 Liversedge 0
Starting from the left back position, the Holy Blues built through the thirds. West found Sellars-Fleming on the Carlislse Street stand side, keeping possession he found Waldock, industrious in the centre of the park, he got Durose driving through the centre – and with the precision of a master seamstress, Durose threaded a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of Clayton Donaldson. The centre forward rounding the goalkeeper and rolling home his twentieth league goal of the campaign. A goal that relieved the tension, the Don’s delight evident as he celebrated in front of the Club on the Park.
Shortly after making it two, Yates was called into action to preserve his clean sheet when former Blue, Nicky Walker cut in from the left and hit the target for Liversedge. Yates making a strong block to deny the wide man, who seems to have played against Gainsborough every other month, this season.
Soon, two became three, when Donaldson was caught late, the referee played advantage and the assistant kept his flag down as Sellars-Fleming raced through on goal. A last ditch challenge, as the youngster pulled the trigger, saw the ball kindly fall for Waldock to turn in, as he arrived in the right place at the back post to ram home from close range. His energy and drive from midfield getting him in the right place to give him the opportunity to add to his impressive tally in front of goal this campaign.
There was little rest-bite for the visitors, as the rampant Blues had the ball in the net again, as Donaldson hooked in from close range, his joy to be short-lived though, with the assistant’s flag aloft, to cut short the Trinity celebrations.
Trinity continued to pour forwards, the visitors conceding a corner. Sedge cleared the right wing kick, but Bailey Conway, on for skipper Andrew Wright returned the ball back into the danger zone. Waldock again showing great determination to get onto the ball. Up-ended, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Already with one to his name for the afternoon, and with Donaldson withdrawn, no one was taking the spot kick away from the midfielder, who made no mistake, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way from twelve yards.
Late substitute, Harry Lewis went close to adding a fifth, when he got a lucky break on the right hand side, cutting in – and firing narrowly over the bar, with Waldock well placed a couple of yards inside to his right. No fifth of the game for Trinity, but as South Shields were being crowned Champions, Trinity were matching the table toppers goal difference & exceeding their goals for tally!
And now, down to the final two for the Holy Blues. Away to Radcliffe on Saturday, at home to FC United of Manchester a week on Saturday. The brief is simple. A point secures our place in the play-off mix. Our fate, fully in our own hands. Let’s bring the curtain down on the season in style – let’s back Bish and the team in numbers, both on the road… and at home when we welcome the Red Rebels to the Dave Longstaff Martin and Co Arena, before hopefully extending our season into overtime! C’mon you Blues!
Matt Yates, Prosper Keto, Joseph West, Andrew Wright (Bailey Conway) Isaac Rice, Dylan Cogill, Tyrell Sellars-Fleming, Curtis Durose, Clayton Donaldson (Harry Lewis 81), Liam Waldock, Luther Munakandafa (Fraser Preston 60)
Subs not used: George Hornshaw, Hayden Cann
Gainsborough goals: Tyrell Sellars-Fleming 35, Clayton Donaldson 60, Liam Waldock 64 & 83
Jordan Porter, Casey Stewart, George Smith, Michael Stone, Josh Barrett, Kurt Harris (Jacko Hardacre 16) Connor Smythe, Jack Stockdill, Nathan Cartman (Rob Guilfoyle 86) Connor Falls (Jack Carr 57) Nicky Walker
Subs not used: Joe Walton, Kevy Tarangadzo
Referee: Daniel Tracey
Match report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos by Kate Simmonds (@kls_mediauk)