Saturday, 3 December 2016

Gainsborough Trinity 1 v FC United of Manchester 2 - National League North

Saturday 3rd December 2016
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
Gainsborough Trinity were formed in 1873, by the vicar at the Holy Trinity Church, Reverend George Langton Hodgkinson, as Trinity Recreationists. They were a football league club from 1896 and 1912.
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.
In 1911–12, when Trinity finished bottom of Division Two for the second time, they failed to be re-elected and lost their league status, back in the day when there was no such thing as the Vanarama National League (or Conference) when they received nine votes and were  replaced by Lincoln City who got twenty seven. Ironically when the 'Holy Blues' home ground, the Northolme, was being used for cricket, they sometimes played home matches at the in the Football League at the Imps Sincil Bank ground, as well as the Bowling Green Ground (off Ropery Road) in Gainsborough. Several subsequent applications for re-election, the most recent being in 1976, proved to be unsuccessful.
Fast forwarding to 2004 and skipping past the club's Midland League and Northern Premier League years, for purposes of brevity (though I will happily cover those chapters in the club's history the next time I hop across the swollen banks of the River Trent, to watch the 'Holy Blues' in action from my humble homestead which is only a twenty minute drive away from the Northolme. If there is enough demand from the readership of this blog; you both know how to get in touch) Gainsborough Trinity became founder members of the Conference North, where they have remained ever since.
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.
But that died a death when Mr Swann left the club, citing that he no longer had the time and inclination to be involved in football anymore, just a few weeks before he was unveiled as the new chairman at Scunthorpe United.
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.
Swann's successor Richard Kane, has proved to be an open, accessible and popular figurehead at the club and since being installed at the club, he has overseen a number of innovative moves at the club, under the banner heading #inittogether... and in spite of Trinity underachieving on the field of play at times, there always seems to be a feelgood factor around the club whenever I have visited them in recent times.
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.
Today's visitors were only formed eleven years ago, by disgruntled, disillusioned, despondent, morally displaced and disgusted supporters, in response American businessman Malcolm Glazer and his family's takeover of Manchester United.
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.
Karl Margison has managed the Rebels since their formation and they played at a number of Non League grounds in and around Greater Manchester, namely: Altrincham's Moss Lane, Radcliffe Borough's Stainton Park, Hyde United's Ewen Fields, Stalybridge Celtic's Bower Fold and Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium.
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.
Feelings about the 'newly' formed club have been mixed along the way, with United club legend Eric Cantona speaking out in support of the venture, while Sir Alex Ferguson had some strong reservations about them in his autobiography, where to be fair he had some fairly scathing things to say about quite a few people..
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.
But whatever your point of view is about FC United of Manchester, they are here to stay.
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 gesture
And 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.
I wasn't aware of there being very many people in the ground early doors, but the rattle of the shutters going up on the tea bar, summoned a gathering of teenagers from out out of all of the nooks and crannies of this fine old ground, as they ravenously descended on counter as though they hadn't had anything to eat since they left McDonald's half a hour ago.
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.
Trinity subs:
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
It is ironic that Lincolnshire is a county that is synonymous with poaching, because that is exactly what Gainsborough's Mancunian visitors got up to this afternoon, as regards the timing of their goals anyway. Because with just six minutes left on  the clock, Trinity were winning this game.
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.
Trinity had an early chance to open  the scoring when Matt Wilson headed over from close range.
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.
George Willis, was perhaps a little bit fortunate, when Harry Winter rode a couple of challenges on the edge of the area, before threading the ball through to Jason Gilchrist, who went to ground as the Holy Blues keepers outstretched arms, tangled around the United centre forward's legs after he had slipped the ball past the grounded custodian, George Thomson lashed the loose ball into the side netting, which I would imagine constituted playing the advantage in the eyes of the referee Martin Wood. But the angle was so tight, the half chance barely construed any kind of advantage whatsoever.
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.
Willis was in the thick of it again, tipping a Gilchrist free kick over the bar, while leaning back at full stretch.
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.
Wright dropped a long throw in from out on the right into Trinity's area, deep into stoppage time, Gareth Arnison knocked it forward to Dale Tonge who turned and rolled the ball towards Harry Winter, whose initial shot was palmed away by Willis, but his second bite of the cherry ended up in the back of the net.
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