The three second half substitutes all also making their bow in Gainsborough colours. There was another new name on the team sheet too. Doncaster Rovers' defender Will Flint signed on an initial one month loan deal on the eve of the season, as Bish & Stampy look to mould the new group into a similarly exciting a proposition as last season.
Rain, wind and sunshine punctuated an opening day fixture, that lacked in goals, but not in terms of heart, endeavour and application, with two sides looking to be up there and challenging come April.
Marine's Mampala had the first sight of goal for either side, when he twisted, turned, feinted to shoot, before curling narrowly wide of Dylan Wharton’s left hand upright.
Visiting skipper, Josh Wardle then had his head in his hands as he got on the end of a header back across goal from Louis White’s floated freekick. Somehow ruffling the side netting from close range. Ten minutes later, Jack Goodman was similarly crestfallen.
All-action Harry Lovick’s inswinging corner, was helped on at the near post by McCauley Snelgrove, and Goodman arriving late – wasn’t able to force the ball home at the back stick. Finlay Sinclair Smith then popped up off the right hand side, combining with Will Russ, and working Wharton away to his right hand side. His low effort not really troubling the on loan Sheffield United stopper.
As half time approached, Bobby Johnson had a sighter that didn’t trouble Goddard. Shooting from distance, the strike drifted harmlessly wide – however – three minutes into first half stoppage time, the visiting ‘keeper was called into action when Johnson tried his luck with a first time hit from 45 yards. It arrowed towards the bottom right hand corner, only for Goddard to respond with a save low down to his right.
The Holy Blues finishing the half strongly, but unable to profit from the resultant corner
Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Marine 0
Trinity started the second half, camped inside their own half, as Marine looked to turn the screw, defending resolutely, it was a Sinclair-Smith effort that came closest to the visitors breaking the deadlock, when his ferocious effort warmed the gloves of Wharton. Sinclair-Smith cutting in from the Marine left, before trying to beat Wharton at his near post.
Both sides forced a number of corners, but struggled to really make the set pieces count, both sides cancelling each other out. And though Marine were dominating the possession, they were restricted to pot shots from range, as they grew increasingly frustrated by the Blues’ steely resolve.
On as a second half substitute, Harrison Poulter looked lively, but the final ball was just lacking, when the Holy Blues looked to turn defending a corner into a quick fire counter attack. The on loan Iron, doing brilliantly down the right initially, after linking with Javelle Clarke. Trinity looking to up the ante, kept up the possession in and around the Marine final third.
Sliding in Slew, the second substitute on after the break, he was just unable to pick out a blue shirt after escaping down the right. Goodman looked to spin and finish but was eased out before he could get his shot away, before the visitors had a penalty appeal waved away six minutes form time, when Sinclair-Smith felt he was impeded by Wharton after he had squared the ball.
Deep into added time, Marine were reduced to ten men, when late substitute Charley Doyle was shown a straight red card for an ill-timed lunge on Jack Moore-Billam. Moore-Billam was again involved late on, when he went down on the edge of the box. But Mr Watson wasn’t having any of it. And there wasn’t enough time for Trinity to snatch another late winner, the points instead being shared.
Gainsborough Line Up:
Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw, Lewis Butroid, Harry Lovick, Dylan Cogill, Adam Porritt, Javelle Clarke, Bobby Johnson, Jack Goodman (Jack Moore-Billam 87) McCauley Snelgrove (Jorome Slew 58) Joel Holvey (Harrison Poulter 50)
Subs not used: Will Flint & Tom Parkinson
Yellow cards: Harry Lovick
Marine Line Up:
Felix Goddard, Joe Ferguson, Nathan Woodthorpe, Liam Noble (Jordan Lussey 85) Josh Wardle, Chris Doyle, Finlay Sinclair-Smith, Louis White, Darius Osei, Will Russ (Owen Robinson 69) Manasse Mampala (Charlie Doyle 85)
Subs not used: Michael Carberry & Richard Cowderoy
Yellow cards: Will Russ
Red card: Charlie Doyle
Referee: Mr Luke Watson
Report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Man of the Match, presented by Match Ball Sponsors Will Stanser & Reece Gooding, alongside their chosen winner, midfield warrior Harry Lovick, on debut.
Action photo, courtesy of Russell Dickens (@bozola900)