On a gloriously sunny afternoon in Greater Manchester, Gainsborough Trinity lost out in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup to a revitalised Altrincham as the Greater Manchester curse struck again for Dominic Roma’s Holy Blues. A bright start for the visiting Blues saw them in front from the penalty spot. James Reid confidently despatching high to the goalkeepers’ left after Jordan Thewlis had his direct run halted by Altrincham skipper Alan Goodall.
Alty came back at Gainsborough straight away, with Craig Hobson fizzing an effort wide of Jonathan Hedge’s goal, before Alex Wiles broke up play with a brilliant interception, feeding Bailey-King, who’s cross on the run failed to pick out a team mate. Trinity continued on the front foot, with Rotherham loan man, Darnelle Bailey-King providing a constant stream of crosses from the right, but with Gainsborough unable to further capitalise, it was a mad three minutes before the interval that saw the hosts turn the game on its’ head, in all too familiar a fashion for the Trinity faithful this season.
Just before the quarter hour mark, Thewlis had the ball in the net, only to see the effort ruled out, Bailey-King not quite keeping the ball in play at the by-line. Miller retorted for Altrincham, curling narrowly over Hedge’s bar from the edge of the box, before Damien Reeves went close to an equaliser with a clever lofted effort than was fractionally over the bar after hesitant defending. James Lawrie was next to try his luck from 25 yards, before Ashley Worsfold forced a low save from Andrew Dawber in the home goal.
James Reid was next to try his luck for Trinity, receiving a short corner from Matt Thornhill, the ex Nuneaton man zipped an effort all the way across goal, with bodies strewn across the box. Lawrie was the first Altrincham player to land a shot on target, which Hedge was equal to – before another Bailey-King centre was comfortably taken by Dawber.
As half time approached, the hosts came more into the game and Sean Miller served notice of intent with a couple of driving runs down the Alty left. Winning a corner on his second foray forward, the flag kick flashed across goal, just getting a knick off a blue shirt, the second corner from the opposite side wouldn’t travel as far, centre back, John Cyrus smashing home from inside the six yard box to restore parity.
Altrincham weren’t level for long though, in almost their next attack, Damien Reeves was on hand to bundle home from close range, despite the attentions of Adam Quinn to turn the game on its’ head before the half time whistle. Half time, Altrincham 2, Gainsborough Trinity 1.
The visiting Blues started the second half on the front foot again, with Bailey-King getting at his full back, leading him a merry dance, before delivering a testing ball into the box, but minutes later, it was Alty who went close, James Lawrie’s effort cannoning off the bar. Miller was next to muster an effort on goal, firing straight at Hedge, before that man again worked a shooting chance on his left foot – and curled narrowly over, again.
As Altrincham pressed, right full back Sam Patterson provided a deep cross to the far post, the Craig Hobson met with a diving header, his attempt not troubling the Trinity ‘keeper. On the hour, Dominic Roma looked to change Trinity’s fortunes, replacing top scorer with club captain as Ashley Worsfold was replaced by Nathan Jarman for the final half an hour.
Moments after Jarman’s introduction, James Lawrie almost increased Alty’s lead with an audacious effort from just inside the Gainsborough half. Seeing Hedge off his line, the Northern Ireland international looked up – and ruffled the side netting of Hedge’s goal, as the former England Semi Pro ‘keepers’ heart skipped a beat.
Josh Lacey delivered a telling cross on the run for Jordan Thewlis, but the laters’ bullet header was straight at Dawber. Thewlis was then caught on his heels as some quick thinking from a James Reid set piece almost put the former Harrogate man in on goal. With ten minutes to go, the prolific Reeves managed to bring down a high bouncing ball and get a strike away, but it was straight at Hedge – and it looked as though he would be made to pay for it, when two minutes later Nathan Jarman levelled for Gainsborough.
High pressing disposed Altrincham in the midfield and set Jordan Thewlis free, jinking into the box, the fleet footed forward stood a brilliant ball up to the back post for his strike partner to lash home on the volley, to restore parity. With Reeves playing on the shoulder he looked to be through on goal, but for a fantastic saving tackle from Adam Quinn, but Trinity were unable to hold out for a Tuesday night replay as the Altrincham pressure became incessant, and deep in added on time, Alty had the winner, with Trinity sank by a late goal that would end their involvement in this years’ FA Cup.
Damien Reeves again profiting from slack defending that had seen Trinity fail to clear a set piece, with the ball bobbling around the six yard box in a melee that had seen the hosts strike the bar, the prolific forward made no mistake from close range to send Gainsborough packing. Full time, Altrincham FC 3, Gainsborough Trinity 2.
Dawber, Patterson, Doherty, Richman (Joyce 71), Cyrus, Goodall, Miller, Moult, Lawrie, Reeves (Cain 90), Hobson (Wilkinson 83). Subs (not used): Heathcote, Hattersley, Bassangue, Jones
Hedge, Lacey, Beatson, Thornhill, Quinn, Picton, Bailey-King (Davis 71), Wiles (Hands 74), Worsfold (Jarman 61), Thewlis, Reid. Subs (not used): Wilson, Evans
Altrincham Goals: Cyrus (43), Reeves (44 and 90 +2)
Trinity Goals: Reid (2), Jarman (82)
Photos by John Rudkin (johnrudkin999) - Gainsborough Trinity Official Photographer
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