Gainsborough boss Steve Housham hailed goalkeeper Jan Budtz after his supreme display kept Hednesford at bay at the Northolme in a 1-0 win for the Blues.
Budtz made a number of impressive saves, including two double stops, as his side held on to take all three points off last year’s playoff semi finalists Hednesford Town, thanks to Ciaran Toner’s strike on the stroke of half time.
A lot of talk prior to the game had been solely on who would be the number one for the season opener.
The last two friendlies had seen Mike Emery in goal and it was a tough decision for the manager to make.
He said: “I’ve watched many videos on the way Hednesford have played; I knew they were going to have long throws, corners and put the ball into the box.”
“We are not an overly tall squad and Jan gives us that added height in these situations.”
Speaking of Budtz’s performance, Housham said: “Jan comes in as another centre half for us today and that’s why he got the nod.”
“After that performance it’s going to be difficult to get him out of the team.”
Talking after the game Danish stopper Budtz was keen to praise the whole team.
He said: “We win as a team, it’s not a single performance by me that won the game, it was a whole team display.”
Budtz made it clear that he was under no illusions that he still has to battle to be number one at the club.
He said: “Mike has been brilliant all preseason and the manager chose to play me because of the physical style of play we were up against.”
“But it might change next week so I will keep fighting for my place and working hard.”
The goalkeepers’ display ensured that Trinity would get off to the best possible start this season, a stark contrast to last term when they lost the first six fixtures.
It was Toner’s first half header which was enough in the end to separate the two teams.
Following quick build up play in the heart of the midfield, the ball was spread out to Dominic Roma, who curled a delicious cross over the defence for the onrushing Toner to power in at the far post.
The goal ended a half of dominance for the blues as they continued to pick away at Hednesford on the flanks.
Roma was having great joy on the right hand side and debutant Conor Higginson similarly on the left.
They managed to create chances for Darryn Stamp and Paul Beesley, who at times seemed to bully the opposition backline.
The second half was an entirely different affair as Hednesford put the blues under the cosh for the majority of the 45 minutes.
Two double saves from Budtz and a goaline clearance from substitute Liam Davis kept the clean sheet intact and forced Hednesford to go back to Staffordshire empty handed.
The Blues can take pride out of their performance and will go into their next fixtures in confident mood.
Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz, Roma (C), Picton, Quinn, Lacey, Roberts, Toner, Russell, Higginson (Davis 71), Beesley (Binns 88), Stamp. Subs (not used): Salt, Lobjoit, Emery
Hednesford Town: Crane, Ashmore, Campion (C), McCone, Francis, Bailey (Sullivan 63), Osborne, Melbourne (Thorley 63), Glover (Robinson 71), Taylor, Walker. Subs (not used): Smith, Price.
Goalscorer: Toner 44.
Referee: Mr N. Sharpe.
Assistants: Mr Y. Gargani, Mr C. Harnsworth.