It was 171 (one hundred and seventy one) days since the Holy Blues last tasted victory on the road, but who’s counting? As Tom Shaw's side stood up to the test, soaked up the pressure and took all three points when Isaac Rice stabbed home Cieron Keane's left wing corner. Already struggling with an injury, Stefan Galinski was replaced immediately after Trinity had gone in front, forcing a reshuffle. Veteran, Bishop, slotted in at centre back, while goal scorer Rice puffed out his chest, grabbed the armband and put in the performance of a true leader that belies his tender years.

Shaw's Trinity came of age and ground out a performance that lacked quality, but was more than made up for in heart, steel, passion and desire. A lively pitch and a man in the middle frequently on the whistle, prevented the game from really developing any real flow, as Trinity defended resolutely. Minimising efforts on Yates' goal.

Half time: Atherton Collieries 0 Gainsborough Trinity 1

The Colls put Trinity under great pressure without really troubling Yates, save for a couple of routine fields. And it was the same in the second period as the home side exerted pressure without really unlocking the visiting defence. Twenty minutes from time, the Colls won a free kick twenty yards out to the left of goal. Atherton substitute Rokka got the ball up and over the wall, but Yates had the effort in his sight and good footwork meant the save was comfortable.

Tom Cursons and Toby Gould were thrown on to offer fresh legs in the closing stages, replacing the hardworking duo of Draper and Makama, Cursons leading the line to get affect, getting Trinity up the field. Lenehan hit a dropping ball from twenty yards, which with the aid of deflection, was well clear of Yates' cross bar. And with the home 'keeper up from the back for the resultant corner - even he couldn't find a way through the stubborn Trinity rear guard.

Navigating four long minutes of added time, the travelling Trinity faithful were rewarded for their persistence with a hard fought, well-earned three points. A night where every player in Gainsborough colours can be proud of the shift they put in. From one to eleven, and substitutes, the side really was, in it together!

The Teams

Atherton Colleries: Daniel Tabener, Sky Sinclair (Zak Clarke 55), Gareth Peat, Niall Battersby (Anton Smith 77), Clive Smith, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ethan Kershaw (Elliott Rokka 55), Scott Sephton, Marcus Cusani, Jack Lenehan, Aaron Smith. Subs not used: Oliver Fannon and Danny Lambert

Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw, Prosper Keto, Neal Bishop, Stefan Galinski (Jack Gibson 32), Isaac Rice, Joe Parkin, Cieron Keane, Freddie Draper (Tom Cursons), Elicha Ahui, Jovon Makama (Toby Gould). Subs not used: Alex Wollerton and Josh Hines

Atherton Bookings: Niall Battersby
Gainsborough Goal: Isaac Rice (31)
Gainsborough Bookings: Prosper Keto, Neal Bishop
Referee: Mr L Griffiths
Attendance: 217

Match report by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photo by David Featherstone