Barrow cart three points away from Trinity as game boils over

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Midfielder Liam Davis was sent off as Gainsborough lost 2-0 to league leaders Barrow at a bitterly cold Martin and Co Arena.

A goal in each half was enough for the visitors to take all three points back to Cumbria and keep them firmly on top of the Conference North.

Trinity started the game with the same eleven that beat Brackley in the FA Trophy and the familiar line-up initially helped the Blues as within 120 seconds they almost scored.

A corner routine involving Ciaran Toner and Darryn Stamp resulted in the latter volleying wide from the edge of the box.

Five minutes later and the veteran Stamp came close for a second time.

A marauding run from wideman Davis fell into the path of Stamp, who got the ball quickly out of his feet and striking at goal.

The ball had a major deflection on it and spun agonisingly wide of the post.

Trinity had the Bluebirds on the ropes but they could not knock them down and were punished by a team who had won five out of the last six league games.

New boy Danny Forrest gave the ball away in midfield and the visitors quickly got the ball forward to James Ellison.

The striker got a curling effort away but it was parried by Trinity stopper Jan Budtz into the path of Andy Cook and he coolly slotted the ball through the legs of the Dane.

It was harsh on Gainsborough and they rarely threatened at any other point before the break.

The first 10 minutes of the second half were rather dramatic in contrast.

Tom Davie headed a Toner free kick straight at Tony McMillan a matter of minutes prior to Barrow extending their lead.

Dan Pilkington was the man to punish a needless foul given away on the edge of the box.

The former York midfielder curled an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner to spark wild celebrations by his team mates.

The goal also sparked frustration in the Trinity ranks as within two minutes Davis was sent off for a lunging tackle on Barrow right back Andy Burns.

What followed was a period of disastrous refereeing as the man in the middle allowed a number of melees to occur right in front of him.

A couple of players were booked but raised hands from one Barrow player were left unpunished.

The game boiled over for another 15 minutes or so with tackles coming in from all angles.

This was perfect for the visitors as it took the sting out of the Trinity come back.

The last five minutes did, however, see a late rally as Davie was twice denied and substitute Curtis Bateson had an effort cleared off the line.

Speaking after the game, Gainsborough manager Steve Housham was less than happy with the officials’ performance.

He said: “Liam’s (Davis) was a wholehearted tackle, as a footballer is supposed to do but they were clearly not experienced enough.”

“The referee probably didn’t do any maths at school either because to me how he has only given three minutes injury time is a joke.”

“I wanted to run round myself with the board and put an extra three minutes up, because it was a laughing stock.”

“Even if we had won 2-0 I would have been on their side and said the referee and the officials were not good enough.”

Despite this, Housham was pleased with the way his team started against the league leaders.

He said: “We started off brightly today.”

“We had a couple of half chances and we got done on the break, it took the stuffing out of us that goal.”

“After they scored we just died off a wee bit in that first half.”

“When we went down to 10 we did well.”

“We could have got a goal out of it, the keeper made a great save from Tom Davie but we will pick ourselves up and go again.”

Trinity will have to as they face tough opposition again on Saturday as they visit AFC Fylde.

Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz, Roma © (Lacey 83), Picton, Quinn, Davie, Roberts (Salt 67), Toner, Binns, Davis, Stamp (Bateson 70), Forrest. Subs (not used): Wisdom-Lockwood, Karkach.

Barrow: McMillan, Burns, McWilliams, Lacey, Livesey, Grand ©, Reid (Gorman 73), Harvey, Cook (Walker 71), Ellison, Pilkington (Willis 88). Subs (not used): Sheridan, Cowperthwaite.

Barrow Goalscorers: Cook (22), Pilkington (53).

Attendance: 408.

Referee: Mr A Miller. Assistants: Ms L Robinson, Ms L May.