Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Gainsborough Trinity 2 v FC Halifax Town 2 - BSBN Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg

Wednesday 2nd May 2012, at the Northolme
Blue Square Bet North, Play Off Semi Final, 1st Leg
Gainsborough Trinity (2) 2
Paul Connor 6, 12
FC Halifax Town (1) 2
Lee Gregory 44, 64
Admission £10, Programme £2.50
Attendance 2,380 (779 away fans)
2nd Leg takes place: Sunday 6th May, 3pm,
at the Shay, Skircoat Road, Halifax, HX1 2YS
Gainsborough Trinity:
Jason White, Dominic Roma, Kevin Sandwith, Luke Waterfall, Andrew Boyce, Shane Clarke, Johnatan D'Laryea, Ryan Williams, Leon Mettam, Paul Connor, Jamie Yates
Substitutes - Sam Mulready, Adam Watts, Lewis McMahon, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Thewlis
FC Halifax Town:
Simon Eastwood, Ryan Toulson, Scott McManus, Simon Garner, Liam Hogan, Danny Lowe, Sean Clancy, Tom Baker, James Dean, Liam Needham, Lee Gregory
Substitutes - Phil Senior, Ross Hannah, Matty Crooks, Jason St Juste, Luke Ashworth
Russell Green - Rest in Peace
Russell Green, was a player/coach at Trinity, the last time they won a championship title, namely the Midland League in 1966/67.
During his time at the club he also led the youth team to Youth Cup success and he remained a supporter of the club for the remainder of his life.
Sadly, he passed away towards the end of April.
A silence was held out of respect to Mr Green, prior to tonight's kick off.
The body language of both sets of supporters said it all at the end of the game.
A lot of Trinity fans trudged away, looking dejected. The draw must've almost felt as bad a loss to them, after having seen their side make such a storming start.
By contrast, the Halifax fans greeted the final whistle as though they had won the game.
But at 2-2, this tie's effectively only reached half time and there is still everything to play for.
With just 6 minutes on the clock, Paul Connor loses his marker,
before firing home the opening goal from a tight angle

Trinity boss Steve Houshman, had obviously spotted a chink in Halifax's rearguard armour in advance of tonight's first leg at the Northolme.
And Trinity exploited the visitors problems at defending set pieces, twice inside the first quarter of an hour, to take hold of the game by the scruff of the neck.
Andy Boyce, peeled off to the right in the visitors box, got on the end of a Kevin Sandwith free kick and headed it across the six yard box for Paul Connor ... and the big Trinity number 10 was perfectly placed to knock the ball home and opened the scoring on six minutes.
Another six minutes later, Andy Boyce (again) nodded on another Kevin Sandwith free kick, Luke Waterfall helped it on it's way and Connor was on hand to score his and Trinity's second, from close range.
From being in the ascendancy, Trinity then seemed to get drawn into adopting the long ball style that the Shaymen had initially employed and the game got a bit bogged down in an overcrowded midfield.
But Neil Aspin, realised those tactics weren't working tonight and switched things around.
Plan B, saw Halifax starting to get a foothold in the midfield as they began to claw their way back into the game.
James Dean broke down the left flank for the visitors and delivered a pinpoint cross for Lee Gregory, who headed the ball past Jason White to put Halifax back into the game just before the break.
I was a bit disappointed to see that Halifax's number 8, Tom Baker, wasn't actually the retired Time-lord and best Doctor Who ever (John Pertwee fans needn't reply, he went on to be a scarecrow), but he looked like a decent centre forward never the less.
In front of a large crowd, both teams battled away gamely to find a way through in the second half, but in the main, though it was an intriguing scrap, clear cut chances were few and far between.
A couple of speculative long range efforts by Halifax players were more of a threat to passing motorists on North Street behind the 'home end' (there was segregation in place again tonight), than they were to Jason White's goal.
The Shaymen were pushing forward, trying to pull themselves level, but Trinity's defence, especially the impressive Andy Boyce, worked hard to keep them out.
A lot of teams would have caved in and let their heads drop after going two down to an early double blow.
But credit where it's due, Halifax weighed up the size of their task and grafted hard to climb up the daunting slope that Paul Connor's goals had put in front of them.
There was an element of luck about the visitors equalise. And Jason White must be cursing his. The Trinity keeper miss kicked a clearance straight into the path of Lee Gregory who kept his cool and fired home his second goal of the night.
By way of coincidence, both Trinity and Halifax had signed their goalscorers tonight from Mansfield Town.
One of those ex Stags forwards, Lee Gregory, almost claimed his hat trick right at the end, but he fired narrowly wide instead.
The other one, Trinity's Paul Connor, had been withdrawn along with his strike partner Leon Mettam earlier in the second half, as Trinity seemed to be shoring up the defence to preserve their first leg lead.
At the end of the day (football cliche #423), the draw was probably just about a fair result.
And it sets Sunday's second leg up very nicely.
With home advantage and a large noisy crowd behind them, Halifax, already on the up from overturning a two goal deficit, will no doubt go into the game as favourites.
Gainsborough won't mind too much about not having the millstone of expectation weighing them down though.
When compared to the last three seasons or so, 2011-12 has been a great year for Trinity under Steve Houshman and the progress they've made since August, is nothing short of amazing.
Don't write Trinity off or under estimate them just yet.
They won't just be travelling up to the Shay to make up the numbers.
Nuneaton and Guiseley drew 1-1 in the other Blue Square North play off semi final.
In the Blue Square Premier semi final, Mansfield Town drew 1-1 at York City, having been one up through Ross Dyer early in the game.
However, their night could have ended 'slightly' better, because the Stags prolific striker Matt Green was sent off (two yellow cards) during the second half.
I'll be at the second leg of the Mansfield v York game at Field Mill (AKA the One Call Stadium) on Monday... and I'll be at the Shay on Sunday too, to see how the second episode of tonight's game unfolds.