Wilcox’s side came into the game with mixed form, winning, drawing and losing in equal measure over their last six matches. A win could lift the Holy Blues into the top-half, depending on other results, after an impressive point away at Hyde United in midweek. It was a very cold afternoon, as FC United travelled to Lincolnshire. The visitors came in poor form, winning just one of their last six. However, their games had been entertaining, with their last three producing a total of 16 goals.

It was a scrappy start at the KAL Group Stadium, before the first chance came in the sixth minute. Paul Ennis whipped a corner into the box, which troubled the Gainsborough Trinity defence. It was only half cleared, as Ennis swooped in and forced a save out of Doncaster Rovers loanee Ben Bottomley in goal. Previous meetings between the sides had produced fireworks, with 21 goals in just their last five games against one another and the early stages produced a number of chances.

However, the Holy Blues were struggling to get into the game. FC United’s top-scorer Dontai Gabidon had a chance within the first ten minutes, but Bottomley easily saved. Ennis blazed a shot over the bar from just inside the box, as he added to what was becoming a list of chances for the experienced forward. The home side created their first real opportunity in the 23rd minute, as Javelle Clarke received a cross-field ball from Nat Wallace. He cut inside and delivered a tantalising cross, but it evaded a touch from the in-form Declan Howe.

The Holy Blues were coming into the game more from then on, with Lewis Butroid’s having Gainsborough’s first shot in the 26th minute. Bobby Johnson nodded the ball down to him, but he rifled his volley well over the bar. Clarke was providing a key threat down the left, adding a spark to an otherwise toothless Trinity attack. Clarke had two goals in his last three games coming into the visit of the Red Rebels, but he was unable to make his good form count in the first-half.

As the half came to a close, Luke Griffiths found space at the edge of the box for FC United, but his shot flew just over the bar. Then, the opening goal came in the 45th minute. It was the visitors who broke the deadlock, as the dangerous Jay Fitzmartin curled a shot from the left wing. It may have hit a man on the way in, as Bottomley was wrong-footed and the ball found the far corner of the goal.

FC United were perhaps deserving of their half-time lead, after a strong period of play in the opening 20 minutes. The hosts came back into it, but were hit by a sucker-punch in the form of a goal just as the fourth official acknowledged a minute of additional time.

Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 FC United of Manchester 1

Straight after the break, the visitors added a second. The ball came across from the left, with first-half substitute Declan McLoughlin playing it along the ground. It found Dontai Gabidon who added his third of the season, receiving the ball in a surprising amount of space in the centre of the box. Paul Ennis had another chance just moments later as FC United of Manchester looked to stretch their lead. His effort from the edge of the box was nicely saved by ‘keeper Bottomley down to his right.

The Red Rebels almost had their third in the 53rd minute as again a ball came in from the left. This time Bobby Johnson was there to stop a certain goal with a last ditch sliding tackle. Fitzmartin had a great chance to double his personal tally as Gainsborough Trinity defender Hamish Douglas was caught napping. He was unaware of the FC United winger lurking behind him as he let the ball bounce, but the first-half goalscorer hooked the ball over the bar.

With twenty minutes to go, Justin Iwobi made his way onto the pitch, as Dayle Southwell departed, after receiving treatment. Trinity were seeking the chance that would get them a goal back, and they managed that in the 74th minute. It was a controversial corner as Declan Howe fired a shot wide of the net. Referee Anthony Tankard adjudged that it took a deflection and awarded a Trinity corner.

It was nicely curled in by Gainsborough lad, Lewis Butroid and the captain Dylan Cogill glanced it home beyond Pat Boyes in the FCUM goal. With 10 minutes to go, the hosts were looking to find the equaliser and continue their run of scoring two goals in each game, something they have managed in each of their previous three fixtures. Although, for all their hard work, they were struggling to find that final touch. Iwobi and Howe were getting in the right areas, but not being able to finish the job.

Then, in five minutes of added time at the end of the game, FC United sealed their three points. With men committed forward, Trinity were overrun on the counter attack. Fitzmartin ran forward and had options left and right. He chose Gabidon to his right, who sent a ball across the box to find Ennis at the back post. He tapped the ball beyond Bottomley to secure the visitors' three points.

Gainsborough Trinity fell to their first home defeat, losing 3-1 to a resilient FC United of Manchester. The visitors found a goal either side of the break before overcoming a Trinity comeback and finding their insurance goal in the dying embers. The last opposition to leave the KAL Group Stadium was also FC United, as they won at the end of last season. So, it is back to back wins at the Northolme for Neil Reynolds’ side. This was one of one three Northern Premier League games that survived the conditions. poor weather, and it brought FC United’s second away win of the season as they leapfrogged the Holy Blues.

The Teams

Gainsborough Trinity: Ben Bottomley, Nathaniel Wallace, Ashley Jackson, Daniel Devine, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid (Fraser Preston 88) Bobby Johnson, Dayle Southwell (Justin Iwobi 72) Declan Howe, Javelle Clarke. Subs not used: Joel Holvey and Jack Moore-Billam.

FC United of Manchester: Pat Boyes, Dan Lafferty, Guy Hall, Luke Griffthis, Charlie Oliver, Curtis Jones, Jay Fitzmartin, Charlie Munroe (Declan McLoughlin 32) Max Woodcock (Theo Farquharson 82), Paul Ennis, Dontai Gabidon (Malaki Reeve 86). Subs not used: Dimeji Willian.

Gainsborough goal: Dylan Cogill 74
FC United Goals: Fitzmartin 45, Gabidon 46, Ennis 90+3

Match report: Jamie Johnson