TRINITY maintained their play-off challenge with a comfortable win at Borough Park against a Workington side sliding down the table, writes John Walsh.
The Cumbrians had just heard they were being docked four points – including the one they earned in a 1-1 draw at Gainsborough – for fielding an ineligible player.
Without a win in 2013 and with six players missing for the game, Reds were vulnerable and from being four points off the play-offs are now just a similar amount clear of the last relegation place.
It was a good time to visit Borough Park and Gainsborough went at their hosts from the start, deservedly taking the lead on 15 minutes.
Craig Nelthorpe produced some trickery down the left and pulled back the perfect ball for Simon Russell to hammer home from close range.
Only some smart interceptions inside his own six-yard box by defender Kyle May prevented Trinity from adding to their tally.
But gradually Workington started to find some rhythm and in the final 15 minutes of the half had their best moments of the game.
Phil McLuckie capitalised on some hesitant defending to lift the ball past keeper Jan Budtz but unfortunately for him it bounced just outside the far post.
Then Budtz distinguished himself with the best save of the game right on half-time when he flung himself to his left to turn aside a powerful shot from defender Dan Wordsworth.
Workington were also the sharper side for the first 20 minutes of the second half but never posed a similar threat to Budtz.
When Gainsborough broke to double their lead on 68 minutes it was virtually all over.
Paul Connor broke down the left and fed the overlapping Josh Wilde. The full-back’s cross was weakly headed out by Gari Rowntree and Connor, who had moved inside, thumped a first time shot into the bottom corner.
The third goal was almost a replica, but there was no Workington defender involved. This time Terry Hawridge tricked his way into the area along the left and laid on the perfect rolled pass into the path of substitute Jamie Yates who also found the bottom corner.
To their credit Workington kept going and could have had a consolation near the end but substitute Richard Bannister scooped the ball over the bar from close range.
Gainsborough will have Cumbrian opposition in the FA Trophy, too, as Barrow won their much-delayed tie with Gateshead 3-2.
Gainsborough: Budtz, Roma, Wilde, Waterfall, Hone, Leary (Thompson 81), Russell, Nelthorpe (Clarke 64), Connor, Jones (Yates 69), Hawridge. Subs (not used) Stamp, Young.
Workington: Mitchell, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Andrews (Manship 65), Wordsworth, McLuckie, Greenhalgh, Owusu-Andrews (Bannister 81), Arnison, A. Wright. Subs (not used) Hall, Smith.
Referee: Andrew Miller