Gainsborough Trinity celebrating against Bradford Park Avenue

Gainsborough Trinity returned to winning ways as they came from a goal down to beat Bradford PA 2-1 at The Northolme.

Russ Wilcox’s side came into the match with spirits high, a run of five games unbeaten in October only narrowly ended by runaway league leaders Radcliffe last time out.

The vastly experienced manager named an unchanged side for the sixth straight match with new signings Justin Iwobi and Danny Devine making the bench.

The visitors to The KAL Group Stadium were Bradford PA, who found themselves in need of a result to climb out of the relegation zone after a run of one win in 14 games, during which Mark Bower was sacked on November 6.

Player-managers Gianlucca Havern and Oli Johnson are in interim charge of the team and had so far only managed a 3-2 loss to Matlock Town.


It was a frantic start, but the first opportunity fell for Gainsborough after just three minutes, a delightful Ashley Jackson cross met the head of Bobby Johnson who directed his header goalward but was denied by the foot of the post.

Instead, Brad Dockerty tested Luke Jackson with Bradford PA’s first chance of note, driving the ball low at the near post and the goalkeeper was alert to save well.

Despite Trinity’s strong start it was Bradford who took the lead through a moment of individual brilliance on 20 minutes.

Connor Shanks picked the ball up on the left wing and weaved through three defenders before rifling an unstoppable shot into the top right corner. A goal which killed the momentum Gainsborough were starting to build in the game.

The Holy Blues continued to dominate the play but struggled to find any gaps in a compact Bradford defence.

Shanks remained the biggest threat for the Green Army, often dribbling away from helpless Trinity defenders. Russ Wilcox would need to find a way to stop him to limit the danger he continued to pose.

Bailey Conway dinked a threatening ball over the top of the Bradford defence but again the resolute back four managed to clear and further frustrate Trinity.

Referee Ian Johnston was a busy man in the first half, he had to give free kick after free kick as both sides made it a scrappy affair.

Just before the break, midfielder Bobby Johnson went down in the box after he appeared to be body checked by a Bradford defender, big penalty appeals from the Trinity faithful were quickly dismissed by Ian Johnston before he booked Johnson for simulation.

It was a frustrating end to a difficult half for Gainsborough. Wilcox had a big team talk ahead of him to change their fortunes in the second half.

Gainsborough Trinity vs Bradford PA
Gainsborough Trinity retain their unbeaten home record. Credit: Jamie Johnson


Gainsborough came out with a renewed energy at the start of the second half and before long they found the elusive equaliser on 47 minutes.

Howe found a nice gap between full-back and centre-back and unselfishly squared for Dayle Southwell to slot home his fourth of the season. It was the perfect response that Russ Wilcox would have hoped for and perhaps a springboard to go on and claim all three points.

Bradford found themselves camped in their own half for long periods as the hour mark approached, Trinity with some sustained possession in dangerous areas but unable to find a goal.

Eventually though the pressure paid off, another dangerous Jackson cross fell for Butroid who’s deflected shot was brilliantly saved by Wade, but Javelle Clarke was there to tap home and give his side a deserved lead.

Things went from bad to worse for Bradford as in the 58th minute Jak Whiting was sent off for what can only be described as a clothesline. He pulled Clarke down by his neck he was swiftly given his marching orders after strong complaints from the Gainsborough bench.

With 20 minutes to play it was so nearly all over as Clarke beat his man on the right wing before his deflected shot ricocheted onto the post, inches from sealing all three points for the hosts.

In a half where they threatened the Gainsborough goal on very few occasions Luca Havern would have been kicking himself after missing a golden opportunity from a corner to level things up. His left footed volley flying over the Trinity bar.

New men Justin Iwobi and Danny Devine made their Trinity debuts with seven minutes to play as Gainsborough decided attack is the best form of defence to see the game out .

Debutant Iwobi had a golden chance to seal it in added time as he carried the ball from halfway and chose to go alone before shooting over the bar.

Gainsborugh did see it out the seven minutes added time and claimed a massive victory.

Gainsborough Trinity 2 – 1 Bradford PA:

It was a hard-fought victory for Gainsborough as they showed great character to come from behind to claim maximum points and continue their impressive form.

A clear difference in the second from a lacklustre first half will have pleased Russ Wilcox as they look to reignite the good form they had found before last week’s defeat.

Bradford slip back into the drop zone and will hope for a reaction next time out at Lancaster. While, Trinity sit five minutes off the play-offs and travel to Marske next weekend.