Fraser Preston again starting up top alongside Declan Howe, as Dayle Southwell continues his recovery from injury, not yet ready to start for Trinity. A dominant start to the game by the Holy Blues as they were treated with the first shot on target of the game as Fraser Preston tried to cut it on the right and curl one in with his left, however he couldn’t generate enough power to beat Dan Lowson, in the Morpeth goal.
Morpeth reacted quickly as Bollado was set free down the right hand side, he couldn’t create a goal though, as the captain, Dylan Cogill, got over to divert the shot wide. The biggest chance of the first half saw Howe beating the keeper after a well-timed through ball from Preston found him, he shot from a tight angle and the shot was blocked by Chris Reid which injured him in the process, forcing him to be replaced early on. And prompting a positional reshuffle.
Trinity beautifully played the ball around the midfield, creating some great chances and dominating the ball for most of the first half. Howe had a notable chance again after a George Hornshaw cross planted at his feet, his shot was well saved by Lowson, just before the offside flag was put up against him. The main action of the half was very late indeed. In first half stoppage time in fact. Bobby Johnson shown a red card (his second of the season) for impeding Morpeth’s counter attack.
Twice Johnson was seen to have fouled made two fouls in the build-up, the first was for him pulling back Will Jenkins in the middle of the park, then the second was a tactical foul on Nic Bollado. The referee pulling out a yellow card for both of the challenges and Johnson was dismissed, to the disbelief of the Trinity management and the Northolme faithful.
Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Morpeth Town 0
Morpeth had a dream start to the second half. Just two minutes in, Bollado opened the scoring after he converted a low cross into the area, beating Dylan Wharton, who had gone 227 minutes without conceding a goal since his return to the starting line-up, at the turn of the year. Some more great attacking play by Trinity, moving the ball about quickly and convincingly, looked to have unlocked the Highwaymen.
But more controversy was to follow, as Daniel Barlow brought down Daniel Devine, play continued and Howe was through on goal. However, the referee then called it back for the foul, denying Trinity an equaliser, stopping an extremely promising attack, with Trinity’s leading marksman clean through on goal. Morpeth then doubled their lead through Jack Foalle in the 57th minute. He was sent through and beat Ashley Jackson down the left hand side, firing a low finish unerringly past Wharton, his shot flashing across the ‘keeper, giving him no-chance!
Trinity then found a way to break the Morpeth offside trap as Dayle Southwell put a great ball over the defence to find Declan Howe, Howe took it past the keeper and tried again from a tight angle, this time his shot went across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. Was it a shot? Was it a cross? No one gambling to get on the end of it to make sure Wharton made an incredible save as Donaldson had a chance to increase Morpeth’s lead, he was played into the 6 yard box, as Jack Foalie got to the byline and cut the ball back.
Donaldson’s shot wasn’t bad, but a strong right hand from Gainsborough’s number one, denied the goal. The Blues kept attacking and trying to finish a chance, there was a tremendous ball from Bailey Conway, getting forward on the overlap down the right. He found substitute Southwell on the volley, the volley didn’t have enough power to beat Lowson, but almost landed at the feet of Howe as the ‘keeper initially spilt the effort.
A few minutes later, Lewis Butroid went so, so close to bringing Trinity back into the game, another great ball from the right, this time from Hamish Douglas, found the wing back in the centre, but his effort was just sent over the bar, Trinity were putting so much pressure on the Morpeth defence and came close to a goal. But ultimately weren’t clinical enough to find a way past the visitors. Tavonga Kuleya came on for the final quarter of an hour and showed off a promising cameo, he created a few chances and made some impressive runs with and without the ball down the right hand side. A player to look out for in the coming weeks.
The final drama in the match came in the 94th minute of the game as seventeen year old debutant Christian Lynn, only on the park for half a dozen minutes, was dismissed for a dangerously high challenge on the loanee Kuleya. Mr Williams seeking the advice of his Assistant on the Ping Stand side, before brandishing his second red of the game. The eleventh card of a busy afternoon for the man in the middle. The final whistle blew out minutes later and Gainsborough had fallen short of a point in dramatic fashion.
Russ Wilcox had his say on the game after the match where he suggested that if the home side had stayed with eleven players on the pitch, they would have won the game comfortably. Daniel Devine had a positive say on the first half saying that Trinity "played some of the best football he’s seen since he’s been at the club". A dominant first half was overturned due to the unfortunate red card and it completely changed the outlook of the game, but the Blues mustn’t dwell on the events of the afternoon, and will look past the loss and take the positives out of it to focus on the next match, Matlock away, next Saturday.
Gainsborough Trinity: Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw (Tavonga Kuylea 74), Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway (Jack Moore-Billam 90), Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid, Bobby Johnson, Fraser Preston (Dayle Southwell 51), Declan Howe, Danny Devine. Subs not used: Nat Wallace and Joel Holvey.
Morpeth Town: Dan Lowson, Josh Robson, Chris Reid (Jack Foalie 18), Will Jenkins, Jeff Henderson, Michael Turner, Nic Bollado (Vinnie Steels 85), Ryan Donaldson, Sam Hodgson, Daniel Barlow, Andrew Johnson (Chris Lynn 88). Sub not used: Ryan Wombwell.
Referee: Arran Williams
Assistant Referees: Ethan Nundy and Wayne Davenport
Report written by Cian Stringer
Images by David Bury