Gainsborough Trinity avenged their Boxing Day defeat to FC Halifax with a ‘deserved’ 3-0 victory on New Year’s Day on the Northolme.
Second half strikes from Craig Nelthorpe and Darryn Stamp sandwiched a successful Terry Hawkridge spot-kick to secure a vital three points against one of their main rivals for a play-off spot.
Gainsborough boss Steve Housham said: “The best team won and deserved the victory – if not by more goals.”
“Jan (Budtz, Trinity keeper) – I can’t remember him having anything to do at all,” he continued. “(I’m) very pleased with the way we went about it today.”
The first half ended all square after neither side could open the scoring, although Trinity twice came close to breaking the deadlock.
In the eighth minute Nelthorpe’s cross was cleared only as far as Hawkridge and he slammed a shot against the cross bar from 20 yards.
Twenty minutes later the home fans were left cursing their luck again as Stamp, who did well to lose his marker at the near post, flicked a header onto the outside of the Halifax post from a Hawkridge corner.
Housham said: “The first half seemed a little bit like slow motion and I said to them at half-time, you add that urgency and bit more to the game and we will win.”
“We looked the more dangerous, we looked the only team that wanted to play football and in spells it was good football. The pleasing thing was that everybody worked and as a group everyone was fantastic.”
The second half was just eight minutes old when Trinity finally got their noses in front; Nelthorpe’s long range effort deflecting off a Halifax defender to leave visiting keeper Matt Glennon no chance in goal.
Halifax responded to this opener by making two substitutions just before the hour mark; including bringing on Lee Gregory, a goal scorer from the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.
Five minutes later though, the game was all but over thanks to two quick-fire goals.
Firstly, great work by Man of the Match Bradley Barraclough – whose loan deal from Lincoln City expired following the game – down the right hand side saw him get into the penalty area only to be brought down.
Referee Richard Wigglesworth awarded Trinity a penalty which Hawkridge slotted home to maintain his 100 per cent record from the spot this season.
Just two minutes later Gainsborough went further ahead when Dominic Roma advanced over the half-way line before clipping a long ball into the area for Stamp, who allowed the ball to drop before slamming an excellent volley into the far corner of the net.
This killed all hope of a comeback from the visiting supporters and players and Trinity were unlucky not add a fourth goal to their tally when Stamp saw a side-footed effort deflected onto the cross bar and behind for a corner.
Recent Blues signing Mark Wilson told the Standard he was pleased with the win.
“This is a great place for me to get back and start enjoying my football and with this group of players – I don’t know where we can go but I certainly think this club and this team is capable of getting out of this league,” he said.
“It was a hundred miles an hour but I thought we coped with it well, we handled it, and our back four were magnificent today. I thought we thoroughly deserved the win today.”
Trinity: Budtz, Roma, Wilde, Waterfall, Hone, Leary, Nelthorpe, Wilson, Barraclough (Yates 90), Stamp (Knowles 89), Hawkridge (Connor 88). Subs not used: Williams, D’Laryea.
FC Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Hogan, Jarrett (Marshall 81), Lowe, Worthington, Bolland (Gardner 59), Needham, Johnson (Gregory 59), Seddon, Subs not used: Senior, Worsley.