Trinity's high press was relentless, as the hosts looked to pass the ball around the back. Soon forcing the error that led to a Gainsborough corner. Up stepped Bobby Johnson, Matlock’s nemesis from the reverse fixture. His right-footed-inswinger finding skipper Dylan Cogill. Cogill, unchallenged guided his header goalwards. And fox in the box, Declan Howe was there to make sure the ball made it over the line - and give Wilcox's men the advantage.

Patient build up down the left from the Gladiators led to a ball swung in. Veteran front man Scott Boden stabbed a foot at the ball, poking it goalwards. Josh Render reacting to the danger as he flung up a hand to divert the ball onto the crossbar. Bailey Conway in the right place to hook the ball away from danger. John Johnston looked lively down the Matlock right, but Render was able to gather at his near post, before another inviting ball was flashed across the face of the Gainsborough goal.

Curtis Durose then drifted out to the right, and found Johnston inside, but his outside of the right foot effort was comfortable for Render. From that point on, Trinity exerted control over the Gladiators, and it wasn't long before Dayle Southwell got on the end of Cogill's ball back across goal. Virtually a repeat of the first, which would surely anger the Matlock Caretaker duo of Mark Atkins & Adam Yates.

Out of nothing, Declan Howe chased down a lost cause. Winning the ball back, he accelerated away from Ioan Evans, one of six former Trinity players named in the Matlock squad. Dusting himself down, he stepped up to convert from the spot, continuing his sensational scoring form.

Three became four before the break, when Bailey Conway sliced the Matlock defence wide open. What looked liked a heavy first touch from Howe proved key in catching Saul Deeney in two minds. Unsure whether to stay, or come and narrow the angle, the veteran shot-stopper was caught in two minds. Howe capitalising with an improvised chip over the helpless 'keeper.

Tavonga Kulyea looked to provide a way back into the game, but the backline held firm. The ball eventually finding its way across to Liam Hardy, who skewed his effort narrowly wide of the angle.

Half Time: Matlock Town 0 Gainsborough Trinity 4

Matlock came out with renewed purpose in the second half, but Trinity weathered the storm, and continued to look a threat on the break, Howe always a willing runner. Fraser Preston continued to drop in and find pockets of space, while Stacey looked to stretch Matlock down the left. Preston looking to unlock the Gladiators back line, releasing Southwell - the experienced front man the victim of the flag, with the whites of the goal in his sights.

Nathaniel Crofts tried his luck with a back heel from close range, but Josh Render was equal to it. Sticking out a boot to block. George Hornshaw then clearing off the line from the follow up attempt from Tavonga Kuylea. Kuylea kept the ball in the dangerzone. His knock down finding Liam Hardy, but Render made it difficult for the veteran forward, preserving his clean sheet in the process.

Ashley Jackson found Preston with a quickly taken throw in, with the latter dinking a clever ball over the top for Howe to race on to. As the leading scorer raced through, Joe West recovered well, getting across to deny Howe his fourth of the night. Hamish Douglas & Ash Jackson both stabbed efforts towards Saul Deeney's goal, but the Gladiators through bodies in the way to prevent the Holy Blues adding to the tally.

Nathaniel Wallace & Kyle Simpson came on for some game time in the closing minutes. Wallace looking particularly lively, creating space for the visitors down the right hand side. His trickery and directness giving Joe West numerous problems down the Matlock left. Wallace skidding an inviting ball across the face of goal, before Simpson's industry gave Connor Shanks a shooting chance, which he caught well, but the effort whistled just past the angle of post and bar. In two league fixtures, Trinity found a way to break down the Gladiators.

Five goals from corner kicks giving Russ Wilcox great satisfaction. Even more satisfying - back to back four goal hauls, that see the Trinity offensive machine purring nicely with two to play. Bradford (Park Avenue) away on Saturday, before hosting Champions Radcliffe in the final game of the regular Pitching In Northern Premier League.

The Teams

Matlock Town

Saul Deeney, George Wilkinson, Joe West, Ollie Clark (Nathaniel Crofts 56), Adam Yates, Ioan Evans, John Johnston, Curtis Durose, Scott Boden (Connor Dimalo 56), Liam Hardy, Tavonga Kuleya

Subs not used: Kornell McDonald, Andrew Wright & Myles Wright

Gainsborough Trinity

Josh Render, George Hornshaw (Nathaniel Wallace 77) Ashley Jackson, Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill, Joe Stacey, Bobby Johnson, Dayle Southwell (Connor Shanks 70), Declan Howe, Fraser Preston (Kyle Simpson 84)

Subs not used: Jack Moore-Billam & Dylan Wharton

Gainsborough goals: Declan Howe 7, 23, 42 & Dayle Southwell 20
Gainsborough booking: Bailey Conway

Referee: Samuel Clayton
Attendance: 480

Report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Image thanks to David Bury