Saturday, 28 November 2015

Gainsborough Trinity 0 v Ashton United 0 - FA Trophy 3QR

Saturday 28th November 2015
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
at the Martin & Co. Arena, Northolme, Gainsborough
Gainsborough Trinity (0) 0
Ashton United (0) 0
Admission £12. Programme £2.50. Attendance 307
Ashton United travelled to Lincolnshire for this FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round tie, having already seen off Ramsbottom United and Stafford Town along the way in this season's competition.
Recent form has seen them climb up into fifth place in the EvoStik Northern Premier League, eight points behind the league leaders Nantwich Town, but they currently have three games in hand over the Dabbers, who they beat 4-2 at Hurst Cross last weekend.
Trinity beat Grantham Town in the previous round and while Ashton had a rest in midweek when a waterlogged pitch put paid to their game against Radcliffe Borough, Steve Housham's side played Chorley at the Northolme on Tuesday night in a National League (North) fixture and beat them 2-1, courtesy of a Liam Davis goal in the 93rd minute. Davis had just come on as a stoppage time substitute.
In the aftermath of that less than unconvincing display the Trinity manager said if Ashton United's scouts were watching his side on Tuesday night, they will have gone away rubbing their hands.
A minutes applause in memory of Trinity fan Barry Emmerson
Of course, Gainsborough have had some success in knockout competitions this season, they've already enjoyed a run in the FA Cup this season where they reached the first round and were only narrowly beaten 1-0 by League 1 side Shrewsbury Town. Along the way the 'Holy Blues' had beaten conference side Wrexham away from home, which was sweet revenge for the two legged semi final defeat against the Welsh Conference League club in the FA Trophy in 2013 FA Trophy in 2013 Parental advisory: this link is not for Trinity fans of a squeamish disposition).
And let's not forget, earlier this month they beat Scunthorpe United in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup Final at the Northolme.
Today it was evident that Gainsborough Trinity have got their public address system sorted, but to my way of thinking; at 2.15pm the crappy choice of pop music, was unpleasantly and unnecessarily loud and rather than offering background noise and pre-match entertainment, it was merely a complete racket that rendered inert any chance of any actual conversation and banter.
I got home this evening with worse tinnitus than the night I forgot to put my earplugs in before helping the road crew and sound engineers out at a Motorhead gig in Woolwich, back in the days of my misspent youth (that lasted well beyond my 40th birthday). Possibly I've morphed into a Victor Meldrew type character in my ever advancing years, but I'd wager that if Trinity ran a 'Yes-No' poll pertaining to whether people wanted this unholy din turning down a (significant) fraction, there would be a landslide victory for the yesses. Just saying.
So, how did the game go then?
Hmm, well, Trinity's keeper Jan Budtz was awarded with the 'man of the match' award, which speaks volumes about how both teams performed today. I guess the people choosing the stand out player of the afternoon were kind of duty bound to pick one of the home side, and for what it's worth I would have chosen Budtz too, but Ashton United's number 9, Martin Pilkington had a very impressive game as well. He wasn't a traditional target man centre forward, but a 'roamer' who'd pick the ball up just about anywhere in the final third and cause problems for Trinity's defence, with both his movement and distribution. His attacking sidekick Jeff King impressed me was another stand out player, who caught the eye.
The home side attacked first and won a corner kick during the opening exchanges. Simon Russell swung the ball in to the six yard box but Jason Gorton unceremoniously cleared it over the stand, as Ashton set out their stall in so much as they were not going to be taking any chances at the back today.
A second flag kick came to nothing and Ashton moved forward now and Trinity were given a early fright as Jeff King shot wide of the right hand post.
Moments later United were on the attack again and forced a corner off of Dominic Roma. King's measured ball was met by Gorton's run but his header cleared the crossbar.
Jamie Yates and Simon Russell exchanged two neat passes between each other out on the right hand side of Ashton's area... and the latter crossed to Adam Drury who stumbled as he ran into space and Paul Phillips got down to smother the ball before the Trinity striker could reach it.
Ashton created a couple of half chances but both efforts were of little or no threat to Budtz, but Mark Lees was only just off target with a twenty yard effort, as the home side spent a spell of the game on the back foot.
Gorton caught Darryn Stamp with a stray arm in the middle of the park, which caused the Gainsborough number 10 to respond. The referee, Richard Holmes, quelled a potential flashpoint as other players gathered round the pair by dishing out a yellow card apiece.
Ashton cleared two corner kicks away and from the second one, Cavella Coo pick up the ball and raced into the Trinity half, before threading a pass into the path of Pilkington, who came close to opening the scoring for the visitors, when his shot hit Roma and looped over Budtz head, but the keeper managed to twist backwards and get his hand to it.
The home side had a decent chance at the other end, when Russell collected the ball in midfield and advanced twenty yard before picking out Jamie Yates on the right flank, the Trinity winger crossed to Stamp whose 'textbook' downward header was saved by Phillips.
Joe Melia shot over the bar and Trinity moved forward quickly from the resulting goal kick, a defensive slip gave Drury a sight of goal, but the angle was too tight and Phillips blocked the shot.
Jonathan D'Laryea wrongfooted the visitors defence with a deceptive flick to Drury, but Phillips was in the way again.
On the stroke of half time, Adam Morning fed the ball through a gap in the Gainsborough defence to King, but Budtz got down well to make a save by his post.
HT: Gainsborough Trinity 0 v Ashton United 0
The anticipated heavy rain that was forecast for today didn't arrive (with a vengeance) until the second half started, but when it did... the heavens opened, literally.
"It's going to get worse you know", said one of the wise senior citizens of this parish who congregate in the corner of the ground next to the club shop, as the teams game out for the second half, and added "the rain I meant, not this blooming game, it couldn't get any worse!"
The first attack of the second half saw Stamp clean through, one against one with Phillips, the Trinity front man opted for power over precision and crashed a thumping shot into the advertising hoardings at the back of the open terrace behind the goal.
Pilkington and Morning combined at the other end, but the ball misbehaved in the wind and dropped behind King when the cross came in.
Phillips denied Stamp when he turned a close range shot over the bar from Josh Lacey's cross.
Pilkington missed a sitter when he had knocked the ball out wide to Morning and continued his run to meet the return ball at the back stick, but with Budtz stranded and the goal at his mercy the Ashton number 9 shot wide of the post.
Budtz then made two great stops to keep the EvoStik League side at bay, King released Melia whose shot from a tight angle was turned around the post by the Trinity keeper and from King's corner, Budtz turned Gorton's header over the bar.
Gary Gee and King both threatened to put the visitors ahead, but they had the wind and rain in their faces now and a determined Jan Budtz to beat... though it must be said, that out of the two sides it was the visitors who looked most likely to progress through to the next round at this point.
Ashton's pressing game acted as a wake up call to the Housham's team, who looked more settled when Liam Davis came off the bench and they began to knock the ball around in the visitors half with more composure than they had shown in the opening 70 minutes.
Davis almost had an immediate say in the game, when he broke forward to the byline and cued and inviting cross up for Stamp who lost his footing and slid the ball agonisingly wide of the far post.
Trinity came at Ashton again, down the right and with everyone anticipating a cross, Yates let fly with a thundering effort from outside the area that skimmed narrowly over the top right hand corner of Phillips' goal.
Ashton had probably had a better percentage ratio of the ball going forward over the entire 90 minutes than their National League North hosts, but Trinity were finishing the game with a flourish, with Davis and D'Laryea orchestrating a string of passes around the Ashton area, but having put so much in to the game, the visitors were finding a second win and denying the 'Holy Blues' even the slightest of openings.
Yates shot as a half chance presented itself in stoppage, but his effort went high and wide of the mark.
FT: Gainsborough Trinity 0 v Ashton United 0
Ashton United would probably have taken a draw before kick off and they celebrated taking the game to a replay on Tuesday night, as though they had pulled of a great result.
But if truth be told, if only they had managed to put the finishing touch to one of their many opportunities and Jan Budtz hadn't been quite so agile this afternoon, 'the Robins' could have pulled off a win here at the Northolme.
There wasn't very much in it at the end... but I'm sure that Ashton United are going to be happier about having to do it all again at Hurst Cross on Tuesday night than Trinity will.