Blue Square North
Gainsborough Trinity (0) 1 (Mettam 60)Nuneaton Town (2) 2 (Walker 22, Noon 43)
Admission £10, Programme £2, Attendance 423
Nuneaton bossed the first half.
Tonight's three points saw them leapfrog Alfreton Town to take top spot in the Blue Square North ... and they showed why, comprehensively at times, during a fairly one sided first half.
By the interval they could have been out of sight with a healthy lead, but Phil Barnes, the Gainsborough keeper, was in a defiant mood and kept the visitors down to just just two goals with a few top class saves.
Unfortunately for Barnes, it was from one of those quite outstanding saves that Adam Walker was on hand to tap the ball home, instead of his defence being around to clear the immediate danger.
That same defence were AWOL yet again when a right wing cross evaded them all and found Mark Noon who headed the visitors further in front just before the break.
At half time a few Trinity supporting friends said to me that it looked like they were going to be on the wrong end of a big scoreline, but then the unexpected happened ... even the most optimistic of Blues fans wouldn't have expected a second half performance like their team put in.
Brian Little, the often maligned Gainsborough manager, withdrew Andy Boyce and Luke Beckett at half time, replacing them with Mark Greaves and Leon Mettam.
And Trinity were back in the game on the hour, with a goal from Mettam.
The home side were by now pushing Nuneaton onto the back foot for spells, with the promotion chasing Warwickshire side having to show they could defend in numbers just as well as they could attack.
So much for the guy stood nearby's opinion about Little having "taken off a prolific and proven goal scorer like Luke Beckett when his team are chasing the game."
That would be the same Luke Beckett who missed a sitter when Trinity were only one goal behind and still in the game I'm assuming.
Adam Walker the visitors number 6 looked lively and was a handful coming forward and getting into the Trinity box all night, those attacks were less frequent in the second half, but both keepers were being kept busy ... right at the end it was Nuneaton who were hanging on to cling on for a win that had looked academic and straight forward enough when the teams went in for a breather at half time.
Trinity lost but can take many positives from that second half performance.
Nuneaton Town's fans loudly celebrated their deserved victory, but it wasn't without a hint of relief after Trinity had come alive for the second 45 minutes and had almost, but not quite, pulled of a memorable comeback.
If only Brian Little could get his team playing like that for a whole 90 minutes, they would be a side to be reckoned with.
Plan A was to have gone to Watnall Road tonight for Hucknall Town v Worksop Town in the Evo-Stik League Fixture Congestion Creating League Cup (or similar) but by all accounts I didn't miss much. And my delayed departure, meaning I had to chose a game closer to home probably wasn't such a bad thing in the end http://ontheroad2010-2011.blogspot.com/2011/01/hucknall-town-2-0-worksop-town.html
Without wishing to sound too disparaging, if the Evo-Stik League ever hold a competition to design a trophy for their 'prestigious' League Cup tournament, here's my entry in advance.
One could say I'm being dismissive of this competition because Worksop lost, however ... an attendance of just 110 for a local derby when a lot of this region's football fans have been starved of any matches to watch for a while because of all the crap weather and postponements, tells it's own story.
Anyway, back to events in down-town Gainsborough ... Intriguing game, good company (for the most part) and over the Trent and back home by 10pm.
I do like the Northolme ... but it needs a few (quite a few) more people clicking their way through the turnstiles.
If Trinity can play like they did in that second half a bit more often and word gets around, it would go some way towards filling the gaps all around this charming old ground.
Blues chairman Peter Swann is looking to relocate to another site in and around Gainsborough, out near the A631 Corringham Road if 'those in the know' are to be believed.
Good luck to Peter with his ambitious backing of the club, but personally, this is one ground I would miss visiting.