And there was a place on the bench for newest signing Connor Shanks. Whitby made four changes to the side that started against Trinity seven days ago. Out went Priestley Griffiths, Bradley Fewster, Nathan Thomas & Junior Mondal, with Connor Smith, Aaron Haswell, Stephen Walker & Alfie Doherty all starting. In something of a role reversal, Whitby made much of the early running, putting the Gainsborough backline under some serious scrutiny. Stephen Walker going close in the first minute from a Harrison Beeden long throw. Before five minutes had passed, David Robson was called into action, as Daniel Rowe was able to nod the ball down into a dangerous area. The on loan Hull City stopper blocking bravely.

It took Trinity until the quarter hour, before top scorer Declan Howe got himself half a chance. Fraser Preston’s cross in from the right, glanced wide of Shane Bland’s right hand upright. Gainsborough were struggling as they played into a strong head wind, whipped in off a bitingly fresh North Sea, on a difficult playing surface. Whitby managed to master the surface better in the first half though, and fashioned some clever openings with dangerman Jacob Gratton a persistent player in the creation of chances for the hosts. Robson forced into a smart save, before Aaron Haswell was a yard or so wide when invited to shoot.

It took Trinity until seven minutes before the break to muster the first effort on target. Fraser Preston drew the foul, and then from the set piece – got the ball up and over the wall – but Bland was comfortably across his goal line to make the save. Just before half time, things got a bit tetchy, as Referee Mr Beresford went to his notebook, cautioning Haswell, Braithwaite & Trinity’s Joe Stacey in quick succession. The latter two for an altercation. Things threatening to bubble over.

Half Time: Whitby Town 0 Gainsborough Trinity 0

Wilcox was the first to go to his bench, making a substitution at half time. Introducing Connor Shanks for Joe Stacey at the break. A change not communicated to the Officials, resulting in a yellow card for the new recruit. An immediate tightrope for the new recruit, keen to make a positive first impression.

Much the same as the first half, the hosts started brightly, with Haswell doing well down the Seasiders’ right. His inviting centre found Walker, but he had mis-timed his jump. On the way back down as he made contact with the cross.

With very little between the sides, Whitby looked to affect the game, making all of their changes by the midway point of the second period. Only to see central midfielder Lewis Hawkins pull up moments after the final change. Meaning the hosts would have to see out the game with ten men. This resulted in the game opening up somewhat.

Into the final ten minutes, Wilcox turned to his bench for his final change. Throwing on Nat Wallace for George Hornshaw, and giving him the license to go forward. Whitby sub, Junior Mondal was first to the ball in the box, lifting the ball past Robson – but not past the retreating Bailey Conway who headed clear under his own cross bar, superb anticipation and positioning from the all-action midfielder, to keep Trinity in the game.

As the half ticked into added time, both sides were to have chances. Max Howells cutting in and drilling straight at Robson, before Nat Wallace carried out his manager’s request. Attacking his full back and winning a corner after cutting inside. From the corner, Butroid’s left footed delivery whipped into the near post, found Ashley Jackson – and Jackson guided his header into the far corner, beyond the despairing dive of Shane Bland to give the Blues all three points on the road.

By no means a classic, but you stay in a game at 0-0 for as long as possible & you always have a chance of taking all three points with a moment of quality. And that’s just what Russ Wilcox’s men did, as David Robson kept his second consecutive clean sheet – and Trinity’s ninth of the campaign. Solid foundations enabling Trinity to climb the table, as attention turns to Tuesday night’s away trip to Matlock Town. The Blues targeting six wins on the spin, as they head to Derbyshire, to tackle the Gladiators…

The Teams

Whitby Town

Shane Bland, Connor Smith, Coleby Shepherd, Lewis Hawkins, Harrison Beeden, Daniel Rowe, Aaron Braithwaite (Nathan Thomas 60) Aaron Haswell. Jacob Gratton, Stephen Walker (Junior Mondal 68) Alfie Doherty (Max Howells 57)

Subs not used: Priestley Griffiths & Josef Wheatley

Gainsborough Trinity

David Robson, George Hornshaw (Nathaniel Wallace 81) Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid, Bobby Johnson, Fraser Preston (Dayle Southwell 65) Declan Howe, Joe Stacey (Connor Shanks 46)

Subs not used: Jack Moore-Billam & Dylan Wharton

Gainsborough goal: Ashley Jackson 90+3

Referee: Stephen Beresford Attendance: 472

Match report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photo credit: Brian Muirhead, Whitby Town Photographer