A sublime Simon Russell goal, direct from a corner kick, rescued a draw for Gainsborough in their encounter with Sheffield United U21’s.
The effort, three minutes from time, curled into the top corner with a bit of wind assistance and levelled up an end to end match with the South Yorkshire side.
The Blues had been behind to a cool finish from last season’s superstar loanee CJ Hamilton, who returned to haunt his former side.
It was the Blades that started the game brightly and within the first minute they got their first shot of the game.
From the left side, CJ Hamilton’s flicked header found Jamie McDonaugh at the back post to sidefoot comfortably wide.
The first chance for Trinity came moments later. A Simon Russell floated cross was powerfully met by the head of Jamie Yates and forced a fine low save by George Willis in the Blades goal.
The game had started to become stretched and from a Blades corner, Trinity hit the woodwork.
A quick counter involved Russell, Yates and Nathan Jarman, with the latter hitting a diagonal ball onto the head of trialist Nick Bignall that hit the inside of the post and somehow stayed out.
Sustained pressure had started from Trinity and from a corner on the right hand side, an unmarked Jake Picton flashed a header wide.
Soon after Bignall created a chance for himself. He nipped the ball away from a defender and hit a powerful left foot drive across the face of goal.
It was not until the 34th minute until the visitiors threatened once more.
A swift break from Hamilton resulted in a McDonaugh swivel and shot that was easily gobbled up by Budtz.
The second half began in a more subdued fashion but it was not long before Hamilton, who was on loan at the Martin and Co Arena last season, cut in from the left side and curled a shot over half time substitute, Mike Emery’s crossbar.
It needed nine minutes for the Blues to register a shot for the second period, with the unlikely face of Adam Quinn being the man to sidefoot from 18 yards at the keeper.
This created some impetus for the home side as first Jarman tested the keeper with a header from a Davis cross, before a rasping drive from Bignall forced a save from Willis.
The Blades thought they were ahead soon after but McDonaugh was adjudged to have mistimed his run prior to finding the back of the net.
It gave a youthful Sheffield side momentum and a minute later, Calvert-Lewin wriggled his way through the heart of the Blues defence, got a shot away off his left and was thwarted by a diving Emery.
In the 75th minute they took the lead. Hamilton was the man to take advantage of sloppy play at the back.
He charged into the box, cut inside on his right side and placed his effort into the right hand corner of the net.
Against the run of play and with three minutes left, Trinity levelled.
Simon Russell stepped up to take a corner and directly from it, found the net. The United keeper seemed to lose the flight of the ball and as he tried to back pedal to claim it, it was too late.
After the game, Gainsborough boss Steve Housham believed the match was a good test for his team.
He said: “Your not going to get many teams in our league who are going to keep the ball as well as them.”
“It was not far off our level and some of their young lads are quality. It was a good test for us and we’ve done well to come through it and I think we can step it up a little bit more.”
“I thought first half we got to near enough the mark we want to be for next week.”
“The only disappointing thing was the second half for the goal. We have to eradicate those mistakes because as it showed you get punished for them at any level for those little errors.”
Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz (Emery 45), Roma (c), Lacey, Binns (D’Laryea 60), Quinn, Picton, Russell, Davis, Bignall (Karkach 87), Jarman, Yates (Rigby 65). Subs: Stamp, Bembrose, Millard, Mann, Hedge.
Sheffield United: Willis, Cartwright, Kelly, Dimaio, Evans, Whiteman, McDonaugh (Wright 72), Khan, Calvet-Lewin, Hamilton, Coustrain (Heh 85). Subs: Eastwood, Cockerline, Brooks.
Gainsborough Goal: Russell 87.
Sheffield United Goal: Hamilton 75.
Referee: Mr A Homes. Assistants: Mr D Jones, Mr A Sawden.