The Holy Blues wanted this one and forced the early pace with a physical but passing Hyde side limited to half chances thanks to a disciplined performance from the boys in blue. Middleton dragged wide and moments later Worsfold charged into the box, went down under a challenge but the referee got the first of pretty much every decision right to deny a penalty.
Byrne drove a 25-yarder down Crooks throat and then Chilaka was denied by the legs of Green at point blank range. Russell shot wide as did Middleton who was immense today. Byrne curled a peach of a set-piece onto the roof of the net, but he was only setting his sights. Moments later in the 27th minute Russell found Hannah who pirouetted to feed Byrne with a slide-rule pass to feet on the flank. Byrne cut inside before curling a glorious 12 yard effort inside the post to give The Holy Blues a deserved lead.
Davie was a true tower of strength at left-back looking useful up and down the flank. Middleton had his best game yet showing strength in the tackles, composure on the ball and a great rage of passing that bodes well for the future as the end to end endeavour continued. If Nathan Stainfield and Chib Chilaka were the gladiators then Byrne and Smalley were the sprightly skirmishers. Hughes and Daly the big guns on the left-hand flank, added to the battle of thrills spills, wills, guile, style and the odd rueful not me guv smile. Chilaka got off a smart drive but Green earned his corn with a save to end an entertaining half. News came through that Buxton had gone a goal down against Farsley which buoyed the boys over a well earned half-time cuppa.
Trinity should have finished matters five minutes into the second half. Great vision saw Middleton clip an inviting ball over his shoulder into the path of Hannah. His pinpoint cross was headed agonisingly wide by Worsfold from four yards with the goal gaping. Green made two saves, thanks largely to his great positioning sense, while Chilaka dragged wide with the nerves now jangling thanks to news of Hardy's equaliser on the hour for Buxton. Byrne's corner saw Stainfield climb highest but his header was cleared off the line.
Ben Hughes was superb putting in a thirty minute cameo freeing Hannah on the right who was scythed down just as he was about to cut in again. He also went in for a 50/50 and with great technique and composure beyond his age the pitch his playground. Ben knows when to run and when to give and go, like willow the wisp he was away, only to be slain, with Byrne's free-kick eluding all at the far post again. Trinity went 4-5-1 as soon as the news of Farsley's 81st minute winner came through, perhaps fittingly for this heroic battle, Wilson led the line with his heavily bandaged broken hand. After 5 of the longest injury time minutes in Christendom the three precious points came the way of the Holy Blues, we'd by frying tonight along Trinity Street!
Numerous well deserved complements for the referee Mr Johnson at the end of the game, certainly worth a permanent residency in many Northolme regulars opinion the best we have seen in the NPL. After last week's heartbreaker and a run of luck even Theresa May would not want to swap, the man in the middle was outstanding, preferring dialogue to dishing out cards, in a game seen as a cup tie by both sides. Smalley could have seen red but his match long battle with Byrne was more entertainment than malice. Ditto Hughes and Daly or Stainfield and Chib Chilaka, four old school honest warriors asking for no quarter to be given or asked.
Teams & Schemes
Gainsborough Trinity: Green, Austin, Davie, Russell, Maguire, Stainfield (C), Byrne, Middleton, Worsfold, Hannah, Hughes.
Hyde: Crook, Smalley, Brownhill, Daly, McCombe, Fagbola, Pratt, Lipka, Chilaka, Roberts, Lane.
Trinity 1 Hyde 0 (H/T 1-0)
Goal: Byrne (27)
Report written by Neil Gentleman-Hobbs