Gainsborough Trinity narrowly missed out on their first point of the 2017/18 season, losing in a seven-goal thriller to Darlington F.C.
Trinity looked to have salvaged a point at Blackwell Meadows but the Quakers’ relentless attack proved too much for the Holy Blues’ defence and saw them miss out agonisingly.
The mild early-August evening was set alight in the 6th minute, when Gary Brown of Darlington rocketed a close-range effort off the bar. The linesman had his flag up, but the Blues’ were in no doubt from then on they had a game on their hands.
It didn’t take long for Trinity to respond, when in the 11th minute an imaginative heel flick from Shane Clarke played in Ashley Worsfold who managed to sprint through and double his tally for the season putting the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs and straight into the back of the net.
Gainsborough were going to have to dig deep if they wanted to get anything from the game and manager Dave Frecklington set his side up well, pressing the Darlington players when they began to knock the ball around.
After the Trinity goal, Darlington went on to see a lot of the ball and with Trinity on the back foot, in the 23rd minute dangerman David Ferguson delivered a pin point cross to find the head of Mark Beck, who rose the highest to head home at the back post, levelling for the hosts.
Following the Darlington leveller, the game began to open up for both sides and fans were treated to a real end-to-end contest. In the 41st minute goalkeeper Richard Walton dropped a catch from a Darlington corner resulting in journeyman Dave Syers putting the Quakers ahead just before half-time.
Things worsened for Frecklington’s men early into the second half when Quakers’ left back Terrence Galbraith stormed into the Trinity box and delivered a cross turned shot that looped over Walton just out of reach of the stopper extending the hosts lead.
Just as the home fans finished their celebrations Trinity shot back. Two minutes later centre back Ioan Evans scored with a near post flick from a Trinity corner, giving the Blues’ a lifeline.
Gainsborough managed to level the scores in exquisite fashion. Craig King and Tom Davie linked up brilliantly and played a ball in from the left wing for captain Nathan Jarman to equalise with a neat glancing header straight into the bottom corner.
However, as the Holy Blues’ began their efforts to see out the game, Darlington again pegged the visitors back. Syers did well to keep the ball alive on the by-line in the Trinity box and delivered the ball straight to Joshua Gillies at the back post who fired home from just inside the area into the top left corner, giving Walton no chance.
From there Gainsborough tried defiantly to rescue a point but it just didn’t happen for the Holy Blues’ and the full-time whistle blew to end a thrilling tie for the neutral.