Saturday, 23 February 2013

Gainsborough Trinity v Wrexham - FA Trophy Semi Final 2nd Leg

Saturday 23rd February 2013, at the Northolme
FA Trophy Semi Final Second leg
Gainsborough Trinity (1) 2
Terry Hawkridge 26
Michael Leary 79
Wrexham (1) 1
Danny Wright 21
Admission £11 (all ticket), Programme £2.50
Attendance 2307 (inc. 844 Wrexham fans)
Match details to follow ASAP
Left click images for larger versions
Current Blue Square Premier leaders Wrexham (but watch out for Mansfield Town, galloping up the rails) knew they had been in a game today.
Their keeper, Chris Maxwell, can probably sympathise with exactly how Davy Crockett felt, when he was defending the Alamo against the unrelenting efforts of General Santa Anna's Mexican forces.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Trinity had a hill to climb this afternoon and that ascent became all the steeper when Wrexham grabbed the all important first goal through Danny Hill on 21 minutes, with a blinding effort from 25 yards out.
But, the goal acted as a bugle call, for the home side to attack and then attack some more ... and with nothing to lose now, they rolled up their sleeves and scrapped every inch of the way
The 'Holy Blues' know what their strengths are and well rehearsed tried and tested set piece plays and going direct were exactly what the situation called for now and pretty soon Terry Hawkridge, Triniy's dead ball specialist levelled the score on the afternoon.
Darryn Stamp, as good a target man as you're ever going to get in your hour of need, flicked Dominic Roma's long free kick on to Josh Wilde who helped it on it's way to Hawkridge, who took a touch and lashed the ball past Chris Maxwell.
The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we have to try
No need to hide no need to run
'Cause all the answers come one by one
The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive ... as somebody once said
In last season's play off final, the enormity of the game seemed to faze and unsettle Trinity, who never really got into their stride that day, obviously they had learnt their lesson well from that experience ... and this afternoon, they were determined to move any mountain, or at least go down giving it their damnedest.
Hawkridges pinpoint corner undid the Wrexham defence, but Stamp powered his header narrowly wide.
The home crowd could sense that it was now 'game on' and they upped the tempo a notch too.
Craig Nelthorpe almost put Trinity ahead, but Chris Westwood, who was a rock for the Welsh side all afternoon managed to head the ball off the line.
The visitors player manager tried to force the issue at the other end, but he was wide of the mark and will have been very grateful to get his players off at the break, for a regroup and some respite from Trinity's determined push.
HT - Gainsborough Trinity 1 v Wrexham 1
Trinity's second half tactical switch, was pushing Wrexham's rearguard to breaking point and it looked as if they had finally got a golden opportunity to take the lead, when Chris Maxwell brought Bradley Barraclough down in the box. Whether the referee was unsighted or being mentored by Andy Morrell at this point is open to conjecture, but either way, he didn't give a spot kick and the visitors kept eleven players on the pitch.
But Gainsborough didn't make a big fuss about things, they just kept their focus and carried in battering away at an overworked defence who surely couldn't hold out much longer.
Ironically, when Trinity got the second goal that their efforts warranted, it was via a slightly fortunate deflection, but you make your own luck and Michael Leary's 18 yard shot under pressure, found it's way into the back of the net, after a fashion ... and the light at the end of the tunnel was suddenly a big glowing orb, warming up a freezing cold afternoon.
Thereafter, followed ten minutes of aerial bombardment that must've seemed to have lasted an eternity for Wrexham's army of fans, as the prospect of extra time loomed ever closer.
It was all hands to the pumps for the visitors now and the air raid siren that the Trinity fans use to generate some atmosphere at the Northolme had never been more apt. 
Last ditch clearances and near misses galore punctuated the closing stages of the game as Trinity camped out in the Wrexham half.
Deep into added on time, a trademark Trinity move saw Darryn Stamp nod the ball across the six yard box where he found Paul Connor, who headed powerfully towards goal from close range ... time stood still, surely this was the one!? 
But Chris Maxwell, somehow twisted and got to the ball and turned it over the bar.
The full time whistle sounded as Terry Hawkridge was about to put in the corner for one last effort ... and Wrexham were heading to a Wembley final against Grimsby Town.
Gainsborough did themselves proud and couldn't have given any more than they had done today.
A brilliant effort. 
Well played Trinity!