Penalty hero Willis is sure Gainsborough Trinity can win relegation battle

Goalkeeper George Willis, whose penalty save helped Gainsborough Trintiy to an important point away to fellow strugglers AFC Telford United last Saturday. (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes).
Goalkeeper George Willis, whose penalty save helped Gainsborough Trintiy to an important point away to fellow strugglers AFC Telford United last Saturday. (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes).

Penalty-saving hero George Willis believes Gainsborough Trinity’s second-half fightback at AFC Telford United on Saturday proves they can win their battle against relegation.

Trinity salvaged a 1-1 draw with an 84th minute equaliser against fellow strugglers Telford, who sit just one place above them in the National League North table.

And although they were helped by the sending-off of home skipper Luca Havern early in the second period, Willis saw enough positives in his side’s display to suggest they can soon start climbing the table.

“Yes, you’d expect to have a lot of possession against ten men, but we showed good character to get on the ball because that isn’t easy with the predicament we are in,” said Willis, who saved Josh Wilson’s spot-kick in the seventh minute of the game.

“The second half was a massive improvement on recent performances. It was constant pressure and that was the least I have had to do as a goalkeeper in a half while I have been at the club. It was just unfortunate that we couldn’t get the winner.”

Willis is now urging Trinity to continue the improvement over the next two crunch matches against the bottom teams in the division, Altrincham and Stalybridge Celtic.

“We’ve shown we are capable and can do it,” he said. “Now we have to do it consistently. It’s all well and good for just one game. We will go to Altrincham on Saturday looking to play well and looking to win.”

Willis’s views were echoed by teammate Gavin Rothery, who made his return to the side as a 57th minute substitute after a long absence with an ankle injury.

“When you look at it, you have to ask yourself why we are down there in the first place,” said Rothery. “On paper, we have some good players and I don’t see why we can’t get out of trouble.”

On the display at Telford, he added: “The first half wasn’t great, but in the second half, we turned it round. The manager told us to get on the ball more and pass it around more, which we did.

“Things didn’t quite fall for us, and it was disappointing we didn’t get three points. But if we keep creating such a large amount of chances, it can only be a positive thing.”