The Greater Manchester curse struck again for Dominic Roma’s Gainsborough Trinity, as they lost to a revitalised Altrincham in the Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round.
A bright start for the visiting Blues saw them in front from the penalty spot. James Reid confidently despatched high to the goalkeeper’s left after Jordan Thewlis had his direct run halted by Alty 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, whose 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 Gainsborough were 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 after hesitant defending. James Lawrie tried 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 Alty 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 make it 2-1 to the hosts.
Alty went close early in the second half, as James Lawrie’s effort cannoned off the bar. Miller twice went close to extending the lead as the home side continued to press.
On the hour, Roma looked to change Trinity’s fortunes and brought on Nathan Jarman for Ashley Worsfold.
The tie was almost settled when James Lawrie spotted Hedge off his line and attempted an audacious effort from half way. The ball ruffled the side netting of Hedge’s goal.
With ten minutes to go, the prolific Reeves managed to bring down a high bouncing ball and get a strike away that 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.
Trinity were unable to hold out for a Tuesday night replay as deep in injury time, Alty had the winner. 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 the striker tucked in from close range.
Altrincham FC: Dawber, Patterson, Doherty, Richman (Joyce 71), Cyrus, Goodall (c), Miller, Moult, Lawrie, Reeves (Cain 90), Hobson (Wilkinson 83). Subs not used: Heathcote, Hattersley, Bassangue, Jones.
Gainsborough Trinity: Hedge, Lacey, Beatson, Thornhill, Quinn ©, Picton, Bailey-King (Davis 71), Wiles (Hands 74), Worsfold (Jarman 61), Thewlis, Reid. Subs not used: Wilson, Evans.