An edgy opening to the game, as both teams looked to sound each other out, exploded into life on seven minutes, as Stacey was inches wide with a first-time side-foot volley, after Lewis Butroid was set free by Fraser Preston down the left. Butroid attacking his man before picking out Stacey arriving on time.

Trinity wouldn’t have long to wait for the opener though. And it came through leading marksman Declan Howe. Started at the back by David Robson, making his home debut, who looked comfortable with the ball at feet, he found Ash Jackson in space on the left, and Jacko played a sumptuous through ball for Howe to race on to. The ball dissecting the Seasiders’ defence. Taking the ball in his stride, with a confident first touch, Howe raced through. And with the whites of the goal in range, Howe finished with aplomb to have the Blues on their way!

A delicious flowing move a couple of minutes later saw Trinity with the ball in the back of the net for a second time. Only to be robbed by the flag. Butroid seeing his effort chalked off for offside. Neat passing triangles involving George Hornshaw, Bailey Conway & that man Stacey, got Declan Howe in behind down the right and his pinpoint centre for Butroid was cruelly denied.

Jackson, with one assist already to his name, then looked to add another to his tally. Retrieving a deep corner, he looked to return the ball into the dangerzone with a beautifully flighted ball, that found skipper and centre half, Dylan Cogill. The sting was taken out of his header though, and it was comfortable for Whitby’s Bland.

The Holy Blues continued to grow in confidence, going on to dominate the first half. Howe a constant menace, dropping deep or spinning in behind. And the Seasiders had no answer, with Preston & Stacey busy, buzzing about, the only surprise on thirty-four, was that it was only Gainsborough’s second. Joe Stacey left Whitby full back Coleby Shepherd with a change of direction, before driving for the box. Head up, he spotted the inform Howe, who had found the space in the box. Dec making himself room, before lashing home number sixteen of the season!

As the game threatened to go a little end to end, Jackson was forced into defensive duties, chasing down Nathan Thomas as he honed in on goal. Robson was out bravely at the attackers’ feet, as the three converged. Trinity shutting out the visitors advances. Howe and Preston had further chances to extend Trinity’s lead, but as it was, Gainsborough had to settle for two at the break.

As good as the Blues were in the first half, the worry was that Whitby wouldn’t be as vulnerable as they had been during the opening period.

Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 2 Whitby Town 0

Whitby did regroup at the break, but despite plenty of huff and puff, the Trinity back line were rarely troubled. With Robson sweeping up comfortably & Douglas and Cogill continuing to develop their strong partnership at centre half – the Blues had the foundations in place to hit the hosts on the counter.

Howe and Preston finding openings, but blazing over when well placed. Lewis Hawkins with a couple of ambitious long rangers blocked at source, thanks to brave Trinity defending. And Nathan Thomas shooting from range, the only real shot on target that had Robson concerned. The Hull City loanee fielding the ball soundly.

The best chance of the second half, going Trinity’s way, when the Holy Blues sprung the offside trap. Johnson had runners left and right. Choosing to go right, Preston raced away, with Howe up in support… opening his body up to shoot left footed, Bland was equal to the former Scotland youth internationals’ intentions. Saving low to his right. The rebound falling for the Trintiy ten, who saw his follow up brilliantly blocked by the retreating Aaron Haswell.

A competent performance at the Kal Group Stadium, with Wilcox’s men creating chances, clever interchange and approach play. A fifth clean sheet in eight – and scoring goals… the Holy Blues can look ahead to the return fixture next Saturday with confidence and belief. We look forward to seeing you, as we head to the east coast looking to make it five wins on the bounce!

The Teams

Gainsborough Trinity

David Robson. George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson. Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid. Bobby Johnson, Fraser Preston, Declan Howe, Joe Stacey

Subs not used: Nathaniel Wallace, Joel Holvey, Kyle Simpson & Dylan Wharton

Gainsborough goals: Declan Howe 9' & 38'

Whitby Town

Shane Bland, Priestley Griffiths, Coleby Shepherd (Haswell 45), Lewis Hawkins, Dan Rowe, Harrison Beeden, Aaron Braithwaite, Jacob Gratton, Bradley Fewster (Stephen Walker 61) Nathan Thomas, Junior Mondal (Adam Gell 56)

Subs not used: Alfie Doherty & Connor Smith

Officials: Alistair Wilson, Assisted by Robert Holland & Laura Van Lier

Attendance: 533

Sponsors Man of the Match: Declan Howe

Report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Images by Phoebe Duckworth