The first of the game was by far the home sides’ best of the first half, as Ash Jackson’s pinpoint cross was met by a leaping Bobby Johnson who planted his header onto the foot of the post. The away side grew into the game after 10 minutes had past, Docketry forced a brilliant save from Luke Jackson after getting the better of Hornshaw. Then, only seven minutes later, the away side were 1-0 up through a solo effort from Connor Shanks. Shanks was given too much time and space, starting centrally, he ghosted out to the left before cutting back inside, onto his right foot and rifling high past Jackson to give Avenue the advantage.
The home side continued to take the game to Bradford, but a stubborn visiting defence, with ten outfield men back behind the ball meant the Blues couldn’t equalise before the break. The final action of the first half was Johnson’s yellow card. Trinity's number eight saw his run into the box cut short after he got taken down just inside the area. However, the referee didn’t see anything other than simulation - to much bemusement of the majority of the 517 watching on in the stands.
Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Bradford Park Avenue 1
Wilcox’s men regrouped at half time and came out for the second half, refocused. Just two minutes into the half, Declan Howe unselfishly laid one on a plate for Dayle Southwell to turn home from close range after George Hornshaw’s initial cross was blocked. A brilliant start to the second period for the Holy Blues. Southwell, pleased to be back on the scoresheet, after he had had gone since September, without a goal for the Blues.
Trinity came out in the second half a completely different team to the first. They had more hunger, aggression and fight in them. The first 10 minutes of the second period saw them with not far off total possession. Just eleven minutes into the second half, The Blues had completely turned the game around. Javelle Clarke finished off a rebounded shot as the Bradford keeper, Brad Wade, saved an effort from Lewis Butroid.
Clarke didn’t stop causing the BPA defenders trouble for the rest of the game. His trickery around the pitch led to multiple chances being created and it also led to the away side going down to 10 men. Jak Whiting appeared to have close-lined Clarke as the Gainsborough man poked the ball around the 17-year-old left back and his frustration led to a stupid challenge and straight red for the Bradford lad.
Despite having an extra man on the pitch, The Blues couldn’t add to their tally. Nevertheless, the home side continued creating chances. The introduction of Halifax loanee, Justin Iwobi, led to a few chances being created, his strength and pace too much for the Bradford defenders. A couple of very late, selfish efforts from the debutant and Javelle Clarke also meant the lead couldn’t be added to. Young, hungry and eager to impress, as they develop more of an understanding both will surely benefit from each other's strengths.
Gainsborough held out until the end of the match despite the ten men of Bradford throwing everything at the Blues and forcing several late corners. Wilcox's men standing firm and lengthening the unbeaten league run at home - to a staggering nine games (and counting) No one at the Northolme will want that run to be ended anytime soon!
Wilcox believes that the first half performance was "unacceptable" but the second half was "brilliant" and that the lads "showed great character and togetherness" today. Dayle Southwell believes that "momentum is the key" after the win today, coming back off of a loss to top of the table Radcliffe put an end to the previous unbeaten run for the Blues... but now they’re back to winning ways.
Next up for Trinity is a trip to 20th in the table, Marske. The Holy Blues look to build on this momentum and push them even further up the table. Blues fans will surely be excited to see more of the new signings, Devine and Iwobi after they impressed in their fifteen minute debut cameos.
Gainsborough Trinity: Luke Jackson, George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid (Joel Holvey ) Bobby Johnson (Danny Devine ) Daylr Southwell, Declan Howe (Justin Iwobi) Javelle Clarke. Subs not used: Jack Moore-Billam and Nathaniel Wallace
Bradford Park Avenue: Brad Wade, Lucas Odunston, Jak Whiting, Lewis Hay (Myles La Bastide), Gianluca Havern, Will Lancaster, Jordan Preston, Harry Colville, Chinedu Osadebe, Connor Shanks, Brad Dockerty. Subs not used: Oli Johnson, Danny King, Judith Tiffany
Match Sponsors: Gainsborough Trinity Away Travel Group
Man of the Match: Javelle Clarke
Match report by Cian Stringer
Photos by David Bury