The Sheffield United loanee began the season with the Holy Blues, playing in 11 games before picking up a horrific injury. After being told he may never play football again and being out for over two months, Wharton returned to the pitch for the huge match up. A performance to be proud of, showing how important his presence is to the team moving forward. In the only other change to the starting line up that we're defeated by four goals to nil on Boxing Day, Fraser Preston made his first league start in eight months as Danny Devine dropped to the bench.
Before the opening goal, Worksop were arguably the better team and had chances. Multiple great saves by Wharton and a heroic display of defending denied an early lead for the away side. Their best chance came from George Taft, his header was cleared off the line wonderfully just 23 minutes into the game by Lewis Butroid.
The home side opened the scoring in the 38th minute, with Butroid the scorer, as he curled a free kick home in exquisite fashion to finally put Trinity ahead after five games of being the first side to concede in a match. Just before half-time, Jay Rollins attempted to square a ball into the area, almost guaranteeing a goal but the man of the match, Bailey Conway, made a perfectly-timed, interception and to stop Deegan Atherton’s ball from materialising with a great header to clear away from goal.
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 1 Worksop Town 0
The second half began and Gainsborough had their backs up against the walls. Some great defensive work, they even made a couple of chances themselves showing the intensity that Wilcox’s side came out with. Worksop’s number one, Seb Mawolski, was forced into making two great saves in the 50th minute, first a save from Declan Howe’s low driven shot, hit from a tight angle, then an even better save from Lewis Butroid’s chance, as he cut in, with room inside the box, Mawolski tipping it round the post and behind for a corner.
Trinity’s first change came in the 55th minute, as Danny Devine replaced Jack Moore-Billam. Just 5 minutes later, Worksop’s Paul Green had to be substituted due to an injury, being replaced by, ex Scunthorpe United full back, Colin Daniel. In the 64th minute, Fraser Preston doubled the Blues’ lead. After a small game of pinball in the box, the ball dropped perfectly for Fraser Preston as he controlled a side-footed finish past Mawolski. An emotional goal for the ex-Scotland youth as he returns from his long wait on the sidelines.
In the final ten minutes, Worksop had many chances but insisted on trying to pass the ball home rather than pulling the trigger, a constant theme throughout, making themselves architects of their own downfall. The final whistle blew, the Gainsborough fans cheered. A brilliant home win against such a great team after such a horrible run of form.
Wilcox described the game as a "great performance" from his side all round but they need to "keep their feet on the ground" and not get too carried away with things. Ecstatic with Preston being back, he highlighted that he "has the quality that we need", as he scored his first league goal of the season.
The Blues currently sit 17th, seven points above the relegation zone and will be looking at building momentum to find some good form and turn around the below par performances from December. With a huge 18 games to go, Trinity will be looking for as many points as they can get, focusing eyes upwards, rather than concerned glances over our shoulders...
Gainsborough Trinity: Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid, Bobby Johnson, Fraser Preston (Joel Holvey 76) Declan Howe, Jack Moore-Billam (Daniel Devine 56). Subs not used: Tom Parkinson, Nat Wallace and Kyle Simpson.
Worksop Town: Seb Malowski, Deegan Atherton, Josh Wilde Vaughan Redford (Liam Hughes 67) Hamza Bencherif, George Taft (Alexandrs Starcenko 46), Terry Hawkridge, Paul Green (Colin Danirl 61) Xx Jordan Burrow, Jay Rollins. Subs not used: Ben Tomlinson and Samuel Wedgbury.
Referee: Mr Tyers
Match Report: James Whitbread, Cian Stringer and Rob Hughes
Worksop images: Richard Bierton (@rbiphotography1)