Vanarama National League North
at the Martin & Co. Arena, the Northolme, Gainsborough
Gainsborough Trinity (1) 1
Nathan Jarman 23
FC United of Manchester (0) 2
Jerome Wright 84 pen, Harry Winter 90+
Admission £12. Programme £2.50. Attendance 762
When Newton Heath LYR changed their name in 1902, Trinity were their first ever opponents under their new guise as Manchester United in a game played at the Northolme.
The two clubs have taken slightly different routes since that fateful day. One is still a football club representing their local community, the other is a worldwide global brand, so detached from their roots, that a number of their disenfranchised supporters felt compelled to rip it up and start again, forming today's visiting club FC United of Manchester in 2005.
A few years ago, there was talk of Trinity moving to a new purpose built ground on the outskirts of the town, when Peter Swann was still the club's chairman.
That isn't meant by way of a criticism or derisory slight on Mr Swann. Because, when all is said and done, football is full of changes of heart, spur of the moment decisions and coincidences. And Peter certainly did his bit along the way to keep football on the map in this rural township.
Maybe he became frustrated by the obstacles that were preventing his new stadium vision getting off of the ground and he saw 'Scunny' as being more ambitious to that end, because they are planning on moving to a new ground in the near future, from Glanford Park, which itself was only opened in 1988.
And by way of an introduction to this afternoon's s hosts, that is what passes for brevity on this here long winded and self indulgent football blog.
Or, if truth be told, Glazer effectively transferring the debts from the other tentacles of his business empire onto the cash cow and global brand that the Red Devils had become, since they played Trinity under their new moniker all those years ago.
The newly established F.C.U.M. entered the North West Counties Football League Division 2 in their inaugural, prototype season. They went on the win three consecutive promotions in the next three seasons and then reached the giddy heights of the Vanarama National League North. via their fourth promotion in 2015.
They also ground shared at Gigg Lane, the home of Bury FC, before moving into their own newly built Stadium, Broadhurst Park, in Moston, North East Manchester, in time for the beginning of last season, after the original aim to develop Ten Acres Lane sports centre in Newton Heath (close to where the original club who grew up to become Manchester United were formed) was kiboshed and thwarted at the planning stages.
Some of the Red Rebels own committee resigned this year, citing that the club had strayed away somewhat from their original aims. ethos, foundations, intentions and constitution. Possibly they've grown too big too soon, for such aims to be wholly realistic any longer, without a serious amount of tweaking and fine tuning.
The visitors went into today's game sat twelfth in the table, while Dominic Roma's side were four points and six places behind them. Barring a disastrous second half to their season, in spite of occupying a fairly uninspiring eighteenth position, Trinity should have enough quality to steer well clear of the relegation places, though I might have to come back and reassess my opinion in the near future if they don't start putting a few more points on the board any time soon; while Margison's side are sixteen points adrift of the top spot.
FCUM are to be applauded for this great gestureAnd if that kind of star billing and build up isn't enough to entice a massive turn out of football supporters heading towards the Northolme this afternoon, then I don't know what is ;-)
Upon entering the Northolme, I was greeted by the strains of 'The Fairytale of New York'. I sighed and resigned myself to the fact that 'tis the season to be exposed to the same dozen crappy Xmas songs on repeat play as every other year, every time I walk into a public space or turn my radio on. Surely I can't be the only person in the world who wishes that Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan had healed their relationship difficulties before they got anywhere near a recording, or who thinks that the Pogues were always crap and were merely an in house band, catering for all those faux Irish heritage pretenders of the day, who crawled out of the woodwork during the late 1980s, or the 'Plastic Paddies' as the real sons of Ireland christened them.
Not wanting them to feel embarrassed about their impending diabetes, obesity and health problems.
I unselfishly joined them in their binge eating and tucked into some chunky chips and the most flavoursome slab of steak pie it has ever been my pleasure to masticate within the confines of a football ground.
I have far more respect for the cow that gave up it's life to provide me with this culinary delight, than any wishy washy vegetarian hippy could ever have.
Jordan Thewlis for Worsfold 75 mins
Noel Burdett for James Reid 75 mins
FC United subs:
Tom Greaves for Kieran Glynn 79 mins
Sam Sheridan for Tom Brown 76 mins
Garreth Arnison for Jason Gilchrist 80 mins
Obviously they weren't home and dry yet and had been withstanding a bombardment for much of the second half, but once the Reds had pulled level from the penalty spot after Chris Chantler's shot had hit Brad Beatson's hand in a crowded goalmouth, there was an air of inevitability about where the three points would be going, as the Trinity stewards removed some celebrating away fans off of the pitch.
Though the home side will be gutted at having lost the game to a late double blow, I suspect that even the most dyed in the wool stalwart Trinity supporter, watching the game unfold through blue tinted lenses, could dispute that the visitors deserved at least something out of this game, or that they had been the dominant team, particularly after half time, when Margison's team looked well on top against a tiring Holy Blues side.
Wilson then became the provider, as he flighted a pass over the visitors defence for Nathan Jarman to run onto and the busy striker took the ball down with one foot and unleashed a shot with the other that the Reds keeper Dave Carnall did really well to block.
Matt Templeton launched a teasing cross into the visitors area, which was only half cleared as far as James Reid, whose low shot through the narrowest of gaps saw Carnell dive into action once again, getting down to his right this time, to smother the ball.
Reid was heavily involved again with Trinity's next attack, cutting the ball back from the bi-line into the path of Jarman who planted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
However the referee was much closer than me and had a better view of things, but... I'd have to say if that was any team I am currently involved with in an attacking position when that happened, there would be an overriding temptation to inquire if the referee might reconsider his decision after a bit of a think.
Right on the stroke of half time, Thomson nudged the ball past the wrong side of the post.
HT: Holy Blues 1 v Rebel Reds 0
Jerome Wright was exhibiting how a captain should lead from the front to good effect, with the visitors more or less condensing the game into the Trinity half for the duration of the second half, but Wilson almost doubled Gainsborough's lead with a header that flew wide of the left hand upright from Reid's defence splitting left wing free kick.
Willis was well placed to deal with Gilchrist's half volley, but the home side were beginning to look knackered and in the seventy fourth minute, the handball, or ball to hand, whichever team you were backing, led to Wright drilling the resulting spot kick straight down the middle as Willis dived to his right.
Fair play to the visitors for battling with everything they had got, right until the very end of the game, I reckon they had just about shaded the game and it was a just result, but Trinity must've been ruing some of those first half chances that went begging, when they really should have been looking to get hold of the game by the scruff of it's neck and impose themselves early on, while consolidating their lead.
FT: Gainsborough Trinity 1 v FC United of Manchester 2