Thame weaved and teased sending a diagonal that confused centre back Rick Smith and big bad blue Gregg Smith took a touch before fizzing a low drive inside the post to the keepers' right. The Trinity movement and momentum was constant leading to a second on ten minutes. A back pass from Grogan saw keeper Martin claim at the feet of irresistible force Smith, who appealed and justly won an indirect free kick on the edge of the box. Simon Russell side-footed and Smith used his right foot hammer to thump a low drive that whistled through the crowd.
The game then took on a physical edge with no quarter asked or given by both sides. On twenty-six minutes skipper Russell had to go off with a rib injury after lengthy treatment that required a trip to the Manchester infirmary. The card count would continue to rise, but this was an honest battle, not a dirty game played between two passionate, passing sides.
Haywood hit a hay-maker that was well saved by Wallis at one end while Bacon's goal-bound effort was saved by Martin. Defensive goal machine Thornton headed just over from a corner to end the half. Half time: Radcliffe FC 0 Gainsborough Trinity 2.
The free-flowing spectacle was ended just after half-time when Dolan was adjudged to have been clipped by Thame, who was given a second yellow and sent for an early bath. It has to be said, the lad can been hard done by for both his cards in this one. Curtis went five three one for the rest of the game as the battle hardened Blues held out for the win. One final cameo from Rick Smith would earn the second red of the game as he pushed Michael Williams into the ref with five minutes to play.
The effort shown by every player shows the side has the fight to grind out a result in a league where winning with style and a smile only comes from earning the right to play. Apt then that a brace from Smith, a courageous man mountain where immovable object meets irresistible force, should be the difference between the Red rose and Yellowbelly foes.
Radcliffe FC: Ollie Martin, Tyrell Warren, Kaheem Hanley, Prince Haywood (Matthew Crothers 80), Callum Grogan, Rick Smith, Matthew Wokfenden, Harry Winter, Liam Ellis, Darren McKnight, Callum Dolan. Subs not used: Javid Swaby-Neavin, Anton Forrester, Ben Wharton, Tom Brown.
Radcliffe Bookings: Tyrell Warren and Harry Winter
Radcliffe Sending Off: Rick Smith
Gainsborough Trinity: Dan Wallis, Doug Thame, Jamie Green, Kingsley James, Will Thornton, Nathan Stainfield, Jordan Adebayo- Smith (Micheal Williams 58), Simon Russell (C) (Curtis Morrison 28 Nuno Perreria 67), Gregg Smith, Alex Wiles, Declan Bacon. Subs not used: Ross Hannah, Lloyd Allinson (GK).
Gainsborough Goals: Gregg Smith (3, 10)
Gainsborough Bookings: Doug Thame, Doug Thame, Will Thornton and Micheal Williams
Gainsborough Sending Off: Doug Thame (second yellow)