Sunday, 8 November 2015

Gainsborough Trinity 0 v Shrewsbury Town 1 - FA Cup 1st Round

Sunday 8th November 2015
at the Martin & Co. Arena, Northolme, Gainsborough
FA Cup First Round
Gainsborough Trinity (0) 0
Shrewsbury Town (0) 1
James Collins 71
Admission £12 Programme £3 Attendance 2,180
Gainsborough Trinity:
1) Jan Budtz, 2) Dominic Roma (C), 3) Josh Lacey, 4) Charlie Binns ( 14) Nick Bignall 76 mins), 5) Jon D’Laryea, 6) Jake Picton, 7) Simon Russell, 8) Stephen Brogan, 9) Marc Newsham ( 12) Darryn Stamp 82 mins), 10) Nathan Jarman, 11) Adam Drury ( 16) Jamie Yates 82 mins)
Unused subs -  15) Liam Davis, 18) Cameron Rigby, 19) Lewis Bemrose, 21) Jonathan Hedge
Shrewsbury Town:
1) Jason Leutwiler, 3) Matt Sadler, 4) Zak Whitbread, 6) Ian Black, 9) James Collins (C), 12) Junior Brown ( 10) Shaun Whalley 46 mins), 13) Anthony Gerrard, 17) Abu Ogogo, 22) Jordan Clark ( 16) Scott Vernon 62 mins), 29) Larnell Cole ( 19) Liam McAlinden 73 mins), 31) Dominic Smith
Unused subs - 7) Liam Lawrence, 23) Tyrone Barnett 28) Sam Patterson, 33) Shaun Rowley
En route to today's first round tie, Trinity had seen off Boston United, courtesy of a 2-0 win at the Northolme, before winning 4-3 on the road at Droylsden, having squandered a 3 goal lead before Matty Wilson scored a late winner.
The 'Holy Blues' then added the icing to the cake, by beating Wrexham 1-0 at the Racecourse Ground in the fourth qualifying round.
You can see the Northolme from where I work and the buzz around the town since Steve Housham's team reached the first round of the FA Cup has really caught the imagination of the locals.
Let's hope that the club, who currently sit 15th in the National League (North) table, can sustain some of the newly acquired interest, that saw a bumper crowd of 2,180 turn out to support this game.
To put that figure in perspective, the last time that I visited the Northolme, Tamworth were the visitors back in September and the attendance that night was 404.
There wasn't very much difference between both teams today, except perhaps in the closing 20 minutes or so, when the Shropshire side upped the ante, as their fitness level, borne from a full time professional training regime, saw them over the finishing line.
But they certainly didn't overpower Gainsborough, or overrun them at any point over the 90 minutes... and though the visitors always seemed to be holding something back in reserve, in fairness, Trinity just about matched them in all departments.
There were perhaps times, when you'd have wanted Trinity to push forward in greater numbers and give it a real go, but the Shrews are a Sky Bet League 1 side and they would soon have pulled Housham's side apart had he been naive enough to leave them too many gaps to exploit by (over) committing too many players in attack.
"Damage limitation", I heard somebody call it, but there is an old adage that says 'caution prevents abortion' and at 1-0, it would only have taken a moment for the Lincolnshire side to snatch a replay, so they were right to take the patient approach, as frustrating as it might have been for several vociferous onlookers. Though I must stress these 'moaners' were in the minority, the vast majority of people present had come to offer their local side encouragement.
Maybe, just maybe, the Trinity players were guilty of showing too much respect to their visitors, when they backed off and allowed James Collins the time and space to pick his spot and fire home the only goal of the game on 71 minutes.
But let's not forget, there are two whole divisions (and seventy places) between the two leagues that these respective sides usually play in. So although it would be wrong to say any of the Trinity players were actually awestruck, they would have been acutely aware that they were up against a much higher calibre of opposition today than they were used to playing against.
That one moment was costly, but it was a solitary moment of indecision, that was heavily outweighed by the remainder of the 90+3 minutes that Trinity chased every ball down and stopped their illustrious visitors from dominating the game completely. Yes, Shrewsbury were the better side, but there wasn't an awful lot in it.
Okay, they sailed a bit too close the rocks and rode their luck once or twice and Jan Budtz, the Gainsborough keeper, had to be on top of his game several times this afternoon, but Marc Newsham and Stephen Brogan were both just a whisker away from finding the net for Trinity at the end of each half. And Nathan Jarman always looked a threat from corners and free kicks.
Adam Drury fitted in well on his debut and provided the cross that Newsham almost netted from in first half injury time.
Drury, a wing player, who has only signed this week and went straight into the Trinity starting line up, switched from Grimsby Town's youth team to Patrick Vieira's Manchester City youngsters, before turning out on loan for Burton Albion and St. Mirren, where he scored three goals in the SPL.
After the Shrews had gone in front, two of their second half substitutes came close to doubling the advantage, but Budtz saved well from Liam McAlinden... and when Shaun Whalley rode a challenge to create an opening for himself he crashed the ball against the crossbar.
FT: Gainsborough Trinity 0 v Shrewsbury Town 1
Trinity gave a good account of themselves and did enough to suggest the foundations are in place to be built on towards a move up into the top of of the table in the second half of the season.
But ultimately the Shrews had that bit extra in their tank and their professionalism saw them through to Monday night's draw.
Finally, a word in support of Gainsborough Trinity chairman Richard Kane, his board and all of the people at the club who are working around the clock to raise the profile of the the 'Holy Blues' within the town. It isn't going unnoticed... and it would be nice to think that the local community will continue to support Trinity in ever growing numbers, now that they can see everybody is pulling in the same direction.
As the club slogan says #inittogether
A few other clubs in the area would do well to take a look at the great strides Trinity are taking towards this end.