Gainsborough Trinity vs Radcliffe

Gainsborough Trinity ended the season in style, with a sixth successive home win on the spin.

They defeated the much-changed-champions Radcliffe 3-2 thanks to a Dayle Southwell double, either side of Joe Stacey’s strike.

Gainsborough started the game brightly, taking it to the champions, who looked nervy under pressure. Alec Francis heading narrowly over his own cross bar from Bobby Johnson’s left wing corner.

But, Jordan Hulme opened the scoring just seven minutes in, heading home from close range as Trinity uncharacteristically switched off. The Holy Blues retreated into their shells, not wanting to fall further behind, leaving the front-line isolated.

When Trinity did get the ball up to the front three, the forwards were closed down quickly, and they found opportunities to pull the trigger limited. Howe, Southwell and Preston all shifting the ball on, to try and fashion a shooting chance.

Conway was trying to get Trinity playing with tempo. Back on defensive duty, he won a foul in his own box, and quickly got on with it. Preston getting away down the left. He delivered deep to the back post, where Southwell tried to knock the ball down for Howe. It was evidence that Gainsborough possessed threst.

Bobby Johnson’s corners continued to cause problems. His deep delivery was headed back across goal by skipper Ashley Jackson. Howe pressurising the defence, saw the ball fall for Fraser Preston to volley left-footed against the crossbar, bouncing down. Despite reacting first, Howe couldn’t keep his spectacular overhead kick down.

Gainsborough Trinity vs Radcliffe
Gainsborough came from behind to beat the already-crowned champions. Credit: Yetunde Adegoke

Whatever Russ Wilcox said at half time, certainly had an impact. Trinity pressed from the front and deservedly found themselves level when Southwell popped up to score the equaliser.

Nat Wallace’s long ball clear, gave Howe something to chase down the right, cutting in off the flank, Howe’s effort was too hot for Brad Rose to handle, the spill falling kindly for Southwell, who needed no second invitation to slam home.

Johnson was tugging at the strings in the middle of the park, and he freed Howe down the right again. As the Gainsborough top scorer looked for his strike partner, Radcliffe thought they had averted the danger away from Southwell, but they weren’t thinking about Joe Stacey, who netted to turn the game around.

Trinity looked to have Radcliffe on the rocks. More good play from Southwell saw the Gainsborough number nine hold the ball inside the box, before laying off for Conway to shoot. His effort was charged down and put behind for a corner.

Substitute ‘keeper Josh Render did brilliantly to deny Jamie Morgan, when he found himself through on goal. Render made himself big and got down low to his left-hand side.

The visitors did level things again though, when Jake Thompson did well down the ‘Boro right, before teeing up debutant Lewis Rawsthorn, who swivelled and despatched unerringly past Render.

With just a few minutes to go, Sean Tse denied Hamish Douglas a sight of goal, after the centre-back had stayed up following a Trinity corner.

Gainsborough Trinity vs Radcliffe
There was plenty of fancy dress dotted around the crowd for the final day of the season. Credit: Yetunde Adegoke

Finishing the game in a more advanced wing back position, Hornshaw got himself forward, and tenaciously kept possession for Trinity. He got the ball back from Joe Stacey and delivered into the box, for Southwell to grab his fourth goal in five games.

Six home wins in six at the end of the season has seen the KAL Group Stadium become something of a fortress under Russ Wilcox. The second-half of the season has certainly seen a turnaround in fortunes for the Holy Blues, will all eyes now on next season.

Feature Image Credit: Yetunde Adegoke