Bobby Johnson, Jack Moore-Billam and Harry Lovick made up the midfield engine room, charged with providing the ammunition for Dayle Southwell. Trinity started the game brightly. Dayle Southwell was working the United centre backs, pressing well, looking to force errors. Javelle Clarke forced a fine block, as he looked to pull the trigger. Instead of a goal, he had to be content with a corner kick. From the resultant set-piece, Dylan Cogill saw a goal-bound effort blocked following an almighty scramble!

Shea Lacey opened the scoring against the run of play on seven minutes, when United capitalised on a mis-placed pass, to ruthlessly give the visitors the lead. McAllister feeding Berry, who continued the move from left to right, where Lacey finished confidently, dinking over Wharton to give the Premier League youngsters, the advantage.

United looked dangerous, on the times they were allowed to turn play over and counter attack, but Trinity remained resolute, ensuring Wharton had little to do as the back four shackled the visiting threat. Progressive play down the left from Gainsborough's Clarke, before checking back to set Bobby Johnson for a sighter of goal. Even though that one was comfortably gathered by Man Utd stopper, Harrison. It was a sign that Trinity were not out of the game. A good foot in from George Hornshaw then saw Johnson beaver away down the right hand side and fashion a shooting opportunity.

Scanlan for United was inches away from connecting with a right wing cross, but that just served to stimulate a response from Bish and Stampy’s men, but not before skipper Cogill had to step across to cut out a centre from entering the danger-zone. Composed, Wharton claiming the corner, before looking to release Gainsborough on the offensive.

Johnson was looking to pull the strings in the centre of the park, spraying the ball around and involving Clarke at every opportunity - this time he shot tamely at Harrison. Shortly after, Clarke tested Harrison with a firmer attempt, turned behind for a corner, but it wouldn’t be long indeed before Trinity would be back on terms, and once again tormentor in chief, Javelle Clarke was involved.

McCauley Snelgrove made no mistake with a placed twenty yard finish, to finish Clarke’s defence splitting ball, after the winger had done brilliantly to win the ball back. Scorer Snellgrove, then turned provider, ten minutes before half time. A clever reverse ball from the former Hull City man found Johnson, who was a whisker away from adding to the Trinity tally. Shaving a millimetre off the freshly painted posts.

Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 1 Manchester United XI 1

As to be expected in pre-season friendlies, the visitors overhauled their line up, with the vastly experienced, former England international Tom Huddlestone. Huddlestone, who has also previously played for Spurs, Hull Cify and Derby, is one of the coaches at United, and also plays as an over-aged player in their academy matches. That, accompanied by the frequent changes made by the Holy Blues during the second period, lent itself to a punctuated second half. A number of the Gainsborough substitutes also going under the Trialist alias also not helping ‘the flow’.

Wildly, windy conditions nearly assisted the Reds, when a clearance caught on a gust, but Wharton wasn’t called into action as the subsequent effort drifted wide of his left hand upright. Wharton was tested twenty minutes from time though, when he got down smartly to his left, getting a strong block in, to keep the score level. Backed up well by his defence to clear away the danger. That, was virtually his last action before replaced by youngster Ethan Cowan. The spectacular nearly came from a partially cleared Trinity corner, when a Gainsborough trialist let fly from the edge of the ‘D’ – narrowly wide of post and bar – that even with two goalkeepers between the sticks, they would have struggled to have saved. It was certainly travelling!

The United #21 showed great strength to hold off a couple of challenges, but snatched at his chance, failing to trouble Cowan on this occasion. Soon after, the trialist centre back demonstrated good awareness to get across the box, to put in a strong, but fair challenge to repel the United advances.

As the game ticked towards full time, Cowan was twice called into action, making a brilliant double save, before standing tall when faced one on one - and being backed up, on both occasions, by some wholesome defending from the trialist defender. Clearing twice off the line within two minutes of each other. United left to rue their missed chances…

On an afternoon of wind, rain, snow, thunder and lightening – and a little bit of sunshine too, it was a superb return to the Northolme following last season’s ‘so near, yet so far’…;a crowd of over two and a half thousand, showing an appetite for football in Gainsborough. And next up, the visit of Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night, quickly followed by Loughborough Students on Saturday. Let’s see as many of you as possible, back on the Northolme over the next couple of games. Tickets for the Scunthorpe game are available to purchase here.

The Teams

Gainsborough Trinity: Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw, Lewis Butroid, Harry Lovick, Dylan Cogill, Rueben Brewin-Hawkins, McCauley Snelgrove, Jack Moore-Billam, Dayle Southwell, Bobby Johnson, Javelle Clarke

Manchester United XI (First Half): Harrison, Kamason, Mantato, Mengi, Jackson, Baumann, Lacey, McAllister, Wheatley, Berry, Scanlan

Manchester United XI (Second Half): Wooster, Ogunneye, Williams, Munro, Huddlestone, Devaney, Fitzgerald, Moorhouse, Musa, Biancheri, Missin

Gainsborough Trinity Goal: McCauley Snelgrove (33)
Manchester United XI Goal: Shea Lacey (7)
Officials: Harry Atkin (Referee) Rob Atkin and Luke Senescall (Assistants)
Attendance: 2,510

Words and Photos: Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)