Sunday, 1 January 2017

Gainsborough Trinity 1 v Boston United 2 - National League (North)

Sunday 1st January 2017
Vanarama National League North
at the Martin & Co, Arena, the Northolme
Gainsborough Trinity (1) 1
James Reid 20 pen
Boston United (1) 2
Jay Rollins 23
Josh Robinson 90
Admission £12. Programme £2.50.
Attendance 1,005 (320 away)
Gainsborough Trinity:
George Willis; Josh Lacey, Ioan Evans, Adam Quinn, Brad Beatson; Adam Chapman (Matthew Templeton 81); Laurie Wilson; Jordan Thewlis, James Reid (Matt Thornhill 70), Noel Burdett; Ashley Worsfold (Nathan Jarman 89)
Unused subs -  Gavin Rothery, Alex Wiles.
Boston United:
Ross Durrant; Kalern Thomas, Josh Robinson, Tom Batchelor, Ben Gordon; Joe Fitzpatrick, Charlie Gatter (Shane Clarke 76), Lewis Hilliard (Callum Chippendale 57); Marcus Marshall, Gregg Smith (Lamin Colley 67), Jay Rollins
Unused subs - Ben Clappison, Waide Fairhurst.
Roughly fifty five miles separates the Northolme from the Boston Stump, across the sprawling mass that is Lincolnshire; a county that encompasses approximately 2,700 square miles of land with a population of around 1,042,000 and an awful lot of fields.
United are known as the Pilgrims because of the town's connections with the Pilgrim Fathers, who fled from their Lincolnshire outpost to America (if you've ever been to Boston, during any period during it's history, you wouldn't blame them for having done such a thing) and founded Boston in Massachusetts.
Joking aside, the Pilgrim Fathers also had strong connections with the people's republic of East Retford, Austerfield, Babworth and Scrooby, which are all quite close to the former capital of England, that is Gainsborough itself.
For more details about this most fascinating subject click HERE
A study of concentration, starring Kenwyn Hughes
Trinity started the day sat precariously in nineteenth place, while their visitors rolled into town, just two points and two places above the Holy Blues in the table.
So a closely fought game was anticipated, with the emphasis being more on picking up some much needed points, than providing a display of finesse, entertainment and 'tippy tappy football' for the eagerly expectant crowd.
Especially as it had been tipping down with rain around these parts since the clock struck midnight to bid farewell to 2016... and the lush turf of the Northolme had been absorbing an awful lot of precipitation, straight off the back of thawing out from the recent frost.
The surface actually held up fairly well under the circumstances.
But game managed to live up to it's dull forecast, with the home side in particular slipping some way below what you would call 'below average' in the first half, before plummeting like a stone after the break, when to be frank, you couldn't honestly say that they even raised the ante above the 'piss poor' threshold, for more than a few fleeting moments.
When you sit back and invite your opponents to 'come and have a go', they will and if you don't keep tight on them, then you have only got yourself to blame when you get punished for showing a complete lack of creativity.
It would be fair to say that when the Pilgrims finally netted what proved to be their winning second goal, it had been coming, because they had spent so long camped in the Trinity half after the interval, they were in  severe risk of actually being charged ground rent.
Even though Boston left it late to finally force the issue, I doubt if you could even find a Gainsborough supporter of the deepest blue, dyed in the wool type, who would say that this wasn't a fair win for their county rivals and both teams got exactly what their respective efforts deserved.
If Bradford Park Avenue had scraped any kind of win against Salford City this afternoon, then the Holy Blues would have slipped into the drop zone.
In all of their time as a senior non league club, Gainsborough Trinity can boast the proud record of never having been relegated; if they intend to keep that impressive statistic intact, they had better start making a fist of things ASAP, because if they defend their league status in the same manner that they performed in the second half today, then the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League beckons for Dom Roma's under achieving side.
Having seen off a volley of early forward play from the visitors, who were trying to used their width to get in behind the Trinity defence, while testing George Willis several times and seeing Tom Batchelor miss an absolute sitter when the ball fell unkindly for him, Gainsborough finally got forward in the twentieth minute and were gifted with an opportunity to snatch the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when the referee: Gareth Rhodes, spotted a handball amidst a crowd of bodies in the United goal area and awarded a penalty kick, that James Reid gratefully smashed past Russ Durrant to give Trinity an unlikely lead.
But the home side weren't in front for very long and just three minutes after Reid's spot kick, Boston were on level terms, when the soaked playing surface came into play as Jay Rollins twenty five yard low drive, somehow found it's way under George Willis' dive and ended up in the back of the net.
An away following of 320, in the segregated section set aside for the visiting supporters, but from the pockets of cheering elsewhere in the ground, one can safely assume that there were actually a few more 'Bostonians' present this afternoon.
Trinity almost restored their lead shortly afterwards, But after Noel Burdett had hooked a dangerous looking cross into the Boston area, Reid leaned back as he shot and the ball ended up among the Pilgrims fans stood at the open end of the Northolme.
The same Burdett/Reid combination tried making headway into Boston territory again, but the Pilgrims recently appointed manager, Adam Murray (who had recently vacated his post at Mansfield Town), is adept at preserving a favourable score line, had tweaked his system accordingly and it soon became evident, that Trinity were going to struggle to make any kind of impression in the attacking third of the pitch.
Boston's new young debutant, Joe Fitzpatrick, was providing some telling free kicks and distribution to Gregg Smith and Lewis Hillard up top for the Pilgrims and showed an impressive quota of confidence and composure for a nineteen year old.
HT: 1-1
The game between these two sides at York Street on Boxing Day had finished 1-1, but even though the hosts seemed content to hold out for a repeat scoreline, United didn't!
As with most games between rival sides on a perfect surface for slide tackling, things became a bit feisty at times, with one Trinity and four Pilgrims players being shown yellow cards.
Adam Chapman, who was lining up against the manager who released him from Mansfield Town a few months ago (but who has also made inquiries about signing him again, since he took over the reigns at Boston), broke forward but over hit his intended cross for Ashley Worsfold and a rare potential opportunity for Gainsborough went begging.
Willis  was called into action twice, making excellent saves from both Josh Robinson and Hillard.
And Trinity's right back Josh Lacey, who was one of the home sides better players today, blocked a goal bound effort from Marcus Marshall.
Sadly, Gregg Smith, the Pilgrims captain had to leave the pitch on a stretcher that caused a few minutes delay, but the main thing is that he has a speedy and full recovery any time soon. It's Sunday and nobody was in any rush to get anywhere when all is said and done. Get well soon Gregg, I hope the injury isn't as bad as was initially feared.
Lamin Colley, who came on in place of Smith, slotted straight into the Boston attack in a virtually seamless manner, but it was beginning to look as though all of the Pilgrim's progress in the second half would be for nothing and that Trinity were on the verge of holding on for a point in a (s)crappy and mostly undeserved manner.
Jordan Thewlis went agonisingly close for the home side, as he shot just inches wide of Durrant's goal... a Trinity win at this point would've been cruel on Boston given that seventy five percent of the second half had been played out at the other end of the pitch, in a stop/start second half.
But in the 90th minute of scheduled time Boston got their winner after Lacey conceded a free kick and Callum Chippendale delivered a dipping cross towards Robinson, who got up above the Gainsborough defence to head the ball past Willis and claim the spoils for Murray's side.
It had been coming and a Boston win was wholly justified on the balance of things... but what a sickening way for Trinity to lose a game, when it looked as though they had just about managed to keep their dominant visitors at bay.
FT: Gainsborough Trinity 1 v Boston United 2

Boston climbed to thirteenth in the Nationwide North table as a consequence of their win at the Northolme today, they entertain Stockport County at home on Saturday, while Roma's side face a tricky away fixture against fellow strugglers AFC Telford United.