Former Guiseley man Southwell, took a seat on the bench, whilst fellow former Lion, Danny Devine was handed a start in place of Jack Moore-Billam. Moore-Billam having to settle for a spot amongst the substitutes. Tom Parkinson missing out on a place in the squad completely. Trinity started the game, immediately looking to get on the front foot, Declan Howe having an early sighter that signalled intent from the outset. Fraser Preston then showed neat control as he looked to fashion an opening, teeing up Devine who saw his effort blocked on the edge of the box. Liam Tongue sent over a deep corner that found Jameel Ible at the back post, but Dylan Wharton in the Trinity goal was equal to the centre backs’ header.
The two wide men for Guiseley were looking lively, but the visiting Blues were defending as a unit, with both Bailey Conway and Ash Jackson alert on the cover. A quarter of an hour in, Jackson required treatment following a tangle with Tom Denton, as the two looked to get on the end of a Reece Kendal delivery. Denton was looking to cause the Trinity back line issues, but the Referee was non-too impressed, when the target man went down looking for a penalty.
Ollie Battersby was called into action as Devine guided a header goalwards after good play by George Hornshaw down the right hand side. His whipped in ball finding the discarded Lion almost eighteen yards out, with Battersby scrambling across his goal to prevent Danny’s header from sneaking into the top corner.
On the half hour, Reece Kendall picked out Gabriel Johnson, only for Wharton to plunge low to his left, making a fine save, helping the ball around the post. Unbeknown to the Trinity ‘keeper the offside flag had been raised. Trinity’s Bobby Johnson then floated in a free-kick that found the head of Howe. His header straight at Battersby, before at the other end Moore (on loan until the end of the season from Oldham) went on a jinking run, that continued into Wharton’s penalty box – but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Conway put in a brilliantly timed challenge, to divert the ball behind for a corner. Denton heading over from flagkick.
Obasota’s acceleration was getting him into good positions, only to be let down by the final decision making and quality of final ball, whereas on the opposite flank, Butroid almost added to his recent goals output in the most unlikely of fashions – tricking his way into the box – just as he appeared to over run the ball, the Guiseley defence looked to hammer the ball clear – striking Butroid and for a split second – it looked as though the ball was cannoning towards goal, beyond a helpless Battersby.
The hosts enjoyed a period of pressure in the ten minutes or so leading up to half time, but Wharton was a commanding figure between the sticks. Commanding his area well, and breathing confidence into his back line, as he came to claim crosses, or punch clear when under additional pressure. And when that pressure bordered on the illegal, the Referee intervened.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Tongue’s corner was met by Gabriel Johnson, who powered his header back across goal, only for Wharton to pull off an incredible save that required every inch of his 6 foot 4 inch frame, completing the save by punching clear the subsequent corner. And with that, Wilcox’s men deservedly went in at the break all square.
Half Time: Guiseley AFC 0 Gainsborough Trinity 0
Just four minutes into the second half, Guiseley were handed the chance to take the lead from the spot, as the Assistant on the near side indicated a foul inside the box, as Kofi Moore looked to race in behind. A coming together, yes. Enough for a foul? Perhaps not? Inside the area? Tight… Hornshaw the man adjudged to have committed the offence – as Tom Denton prepared to take the penalty kick. Guessing the right way, Wharton couldn’t get near Denton’s effort, as he stepped up – and with a hop just prior to striking the ball – struck the outside of the post, the ball rebounding to safety. As the Trinity players felt vindicated.
Things got a little heated, as both teams became frustrated, Howe on the receiving end of a caution after a heavy touch saw the ball get away from him. Bobby Johnson then released the Trinity top scorer with a delightful eye-of-the-needle pass. As Howe looked like he was favourite in the foot race, Aidan Walker did just enough as Gainsborough’s number ten primed to pull the trigger. Forced wide, he still had the presence of mind to find Lewis Butroid, supporting from wing back. In good goal scoring form himself, Butroid took his shot early, but the faintest of deflections took the ball agonisingly away from Battersby’s goal.
Howe and Devine then looked to break the deadlock, but couldn’t find a way through the stubborn Guiseley defence. At the other end, Hamish Douglas and skipper Cogill were defending equally as well, nullifying the threat of the Lions’ attack. And Andy Welsh, the Guiseley manager opted to shuffle his options, replacing Denton with Kallen Murphy for the final twenty minutes. Southwell came on for the final dozen minutes or so, returning to the side after his recent lay-off. Replacing Preston, who again worked hard to link things between the midfield and forward line. And the former Guiseley man looked to stretch the game, with his fresh legs, looking to pin the home sides’ wing backs, back.
In doing so, he drew the foul from Josh Ashman on the Trinity left, which gave the Holy Blues the opportunity to deliver one more ball into the box. Step up Bobby Johnson, who curled in a superb delivery. One that invited Battersby to come and claim. One that ended up catching the goalkeeper in no-mans-land. Captain fantastic, Dylan Cogill reading the flight of the ball better than both his man – and the flailing ‘keeper, and guiding the ball into the unguarded net to give Trinity the lead as the clock ticked into the ninetieth minute.
A goal, the much deserved icing on the cake, of a second steely and determined defensive performance. Trinity successfully shutting up shop and seeing out the remaining minutes, which included five added minutes of stoppage time. Back to back clean sheets for the first time this season, and maybe coincidentally, upon Dylan Wharton’s return to the starting eleven. Only the Holy Blues’ second victory on the road this season, but one that will no doubt give Trinity great confidence moving forwards.
With Morpeth Town next on the horizon, when they visit the Kal Group Stadium this coming Saturday (13th January, 3.00pm kick off). Don’t forget, you can buy your tickets in advance, by visiting our online ticketing portal. Be part of an exciting 2024, we cannot wait to see you at the Northolme!
Guiseley AFC: Ollie Battersby, Josh Ashman, Reece Kendall, Prince Ekpolo, Aiden Walker, Jameel Ible, Kofi Moore, Liam Tongue (Leigh Whelan 81) Tom Denton (Kallan Murphy 70) Gabriel Johnson, Abimbola Obasoto (Jordi Nsaka 87). Subs not used: Callum Chippendale and Jack Mason.
Gainsborough Trinity: Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas (Jack Moore-Billam 90) Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid, Bobby Johnson, Fraser Preston (Dayle Southwell 78) Declan Howe, Danny Devine. Subs not used:Kyle Simpson, Nat Wallace and Joel Holvey.
Referee: Sam Parnaby
Assistants: Abdul Halkimy and Jason Payne
Report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Images courtesy of Alex Daniel, (@Devonian56)