It took only 73 seconds for the visitors to take the lead. Bobby Johnson finding Dayle Southwell, who accelerated away from Charlie Barnes, before striking early, catching Tom Stewart off guard and plundering the opener, the strikers’ first goal since November. Gainsborough were coming forward frequently. Good play from goal scorer Southwell saw him find Howe, but Trinity’s top scorer could only poke tentatively at Stewart. Dylan Cogill nudged a free-kick for Bobby Johnson to strike – he kept it low, but it thumped the advertising boards behind the goal, a yard or so wide of the post.

Southwell stabbed wide from six yards as Howe under pressure chested the ball down for his strike partner. The front two were seeing plenty of the ball, but couldn’t quite find a second. Ashley Jackson swung in a sumptuous ball from the left, that Southwell did well to keep alive, but his knock down evaded Howe,

Kyle Brownhill had the first real sighter of goal for the hosts, Sam Bailey’s long throw causing chaos, but ultimately Brownhill’s effort didn’t trouble Dylan Wharton, before Jamie Mellen tried his luck with a speculative effort into the wind. Five minutes before the break, Trinity marksman Howe looked to take matters into his own hands.

Jackson’s early ball down the left, gave Howe the chance to get himself into foot race with Barnes. As Howe bore into the box, cutting in off the left, he pulled the trigger, but Ed Ikpakwu made a superb sliding block to deny Howe his first and Gainsborough’s second. Keeping the Dolly Blues in the game, as half time approached.

Two minutes into first half stoppage time, Hamish Douglas went close for the visiting Holy Blues. His looping header from Jackson’s throw in landing on the roof of the Dolly Blues’ net. And with that, the last opportunity for Wilcox’s men to take advantage of the proverbial gale at their back.

Half Time: Lancaster City 0 Gainsborough Trinity 1

The second half started with the hosts taking advantage of the wind at their backs. Paul Jarvis, making his final appearance at the Giant Axe ahead of his season ending retirement, got to the by line and stood up and inviting ball to the back post. Sam Bailey arriving late, took a touch before seeing his shot saved by Wharton in the Gainsborough goal. A brave follow up block from Cogill diverting the ball behind for a corner, and denying Dom Lawson on the rebound.

Shortly after, when Jarvis helped the ball back into the box after another Sam Bailey long throw, Referee Wyatt spotted an Ash Jackson handball, having little hesitation in pointing to the spot. Bailey stepping up to convert from twelve yards, despite Wharton guessing the right way.

When Jackson was seemingly fouled, Nic Evangelinos was able to break into the box. A clever piece of skill saw him open up a shooting opportunity, but his effort didn’t trouble Wharton, after he had seemingly done the hard part.

Fifteen minutes from time, Trinity survived a scare, when Sam Bailey’s corner was crashed against Wharton’s right hand upright, before the Holy Blues countered to good effect. Substitute Joe Stacey was the first to the ball, allowing Gainsborough to counter two on one. Stacey squaring for Howe to set himself and shoot from eighteen yards, bringing a flying save from Stewart.

Bobby Johnson’s subsequent corner deceived the ‘keeper who could only pat the ball down at the feet of Hamish Douglas, but the on loan Rotherham stopper was unable to add to his solitary goal in Gainsborough colours – though I must admit from where I was – I thought it had nestled in the back of the net…

And shortly after when Douglas was found guilty of a tug on Evangelinos. Jamie Mellen stepped up to crash the free-kick off the base of the post, bouncing back into play, off the back of the unfortunate Wharton to give the hosts the advantage with five to play.

Undettered, Trinity went again, looking to salvage something from the game – even throwing Dylan Cogill up top in the dying stages, as Hornshaw & Jackson peppered crosses in. One of those falling to the feet of Bailey Conway, who snatched at the chance, his effort sailing over the bar.

The Teams

Lancaster City

Tom Stewart, Samuel Bailey, Kyle Brownhill, Ed Ikpakwu (Tyler Hill 68) Charlie Barnes, Niall Copperthwaite, Jamie Mellen, Christian Sloan, Dominic Lawson (Thomas Kilfin 75) Paul Jarvis (David Norris 63) Nic Evangelinos

Subs not used: Charlie Bailey

Gainsborough Trinity

Dylan Wharton, George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Lewis Butroid (Joe Stacey 62) Bobby Johnson, Dayle Southwell, Declan Howe, Fraser Preston (Connor Shanks 70)

Subs not used: Nathaniel Wallace, Jack Moore-Billam & Josh Render

Referee: Jonathan Wyatt

Attendance 430

Match Report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos by Phil Dawson (@PhotosbyPhilD)