A DISAPPOINTED Brian Little insisted his side had been ‘beaten up’ after a 3-0 defeat by a physical Hinckley team.
Trinity rarely mustered a goal threat at the Greene King Stadium on Monday, and were largely overpowered and outfought by their Leicestershire opponents.
Despite a bright opening period the Blues failed to recover from Lloyd Kerry’s opener midway through the first half and offered little second half resistance.
Gainsborough made one change from the side that beat Solihull Moors in the season opener on Saturday. Striker Daryl Clare started his first game, replacing the injured Darryn Stamp.
Trinity got the ball rolling and and Saturday’s goalscoring hero Gavin Cowan had the first real chance. A Jamie Yates set-piece found the tall defender at the back post but he was always stretching and could only divert the ball onto the roof of the net.
Yates’ had the beating of Hinckley full-back Rob Oddy, flashing an effort over the crossbar on 10 minutes after picking up an excellent diagonal pass from Michael Leary.
Hinckley’s Craig McAughtrie had a header that dropped just wide of Phil Barnes’ right hand post following a delightful delivery from Stuart Hendrie.
They drew first blood with 25 minutes on the clock when Hendrie’s weak cross from the right found its way to the unmarked Lloyd Kerry who tapped home.
Despite the best efforts of ‘keeper Barnes and Dominic Roma the ball was adjudged to have just crossed the line and referee Darren England awarded the goal.
That goal seemed to disrupt the visitors and Hinckley doubled their lead 10 minutes later with Andre Gray latching onto Hendrie’s clever flick and firing low past the despairing Barnes.
Little’s men went in at the interval lacking a real cutting edge; Kevin Sandwith failed to get hold of a free-kick on the edge of the area in first half injury time but the home side looked good value for their two goal lead.
Two minutes after the restart Sandwith had to be on hand to make an excellent challenge on Gray and Hendrie whistled another shot wide of the upright.
As the pressure began to mount on Gainsborough, Gray all but sealed the points, sliding the ball under Barnes for 3-0 following Jermaine Clarke’s inch perfect through ball.
Clare’s woeful free-kick after Kendall was felled on the edge of the area summed up the Blues’ evening but it was Gray who was proving to be a real thorn in their side. He forced Barnes into an excellent point blank save on the hour mark after shrugging off Cowan.
After a Kendall effort was blocked by the legs of Hinckley stopper Dan Haystead, Little was prompted into making a double swap with just over 25 minutes left.
Lewis McMahon replaced Clare and Rory Coleman took the place of Ryan Williams, but neither were able to make any real impact.
To their credit Trinity fought to the full-time whistle in search of what would have only been described as a consolation strike but far too often a poor final ball proved their undoing.
Boss Little conceded his side had been bullied to defeat: “We used the expression in there that we got beat up tonight, they’re very physical, very direct and they’ve got a way of playing that worked for them tonight.”
“My disappointment was we were knocking the ball long as well and we got obsessed with playing them the same way. I said at half-time they’re better at it than we are.”
The former Aston Villa supremo had no complaints with the scoreline and said the first goal was always going to be vital.
“Credit to them they were the better team on the night and deserved to win. We didn’t play very well tonight, I thought the first 20 minutes we were fine but the goal knocked us right off our feet,” he added.
“We had a corner and five seconds later were 1-0 down and we never really recovered from there on in.”
“Everybody in that dressing room tonight has tried their socks off but everybody has tried to play Hinckley at Hinckley’s way of playing. They’re miles better at it than us, closing the opposition down and kicking the ball long and sadly we joined in and tried to do the same as them.”
Darryn Stamp’s injury looks like keeping him out of the trip to Stalybridge on Saturday and Little said it was unfortunate that Daryl Clare’s introduction had to come in such a physical game.
“It was a blow to lose Stampy, he slows the game down a bit and that would have been a big plus for us. But Daryl Clare’s got 60 minutes of fitness work under his belt so that’s good for him, I felt sorry for him a little bit because it wasn’t an easy game for a forward to come in and play.
“We know we can play better than that but we also know there will be games like that and perhaps we’ve got to look at the line-up a little bit different because I think we were a little bit lightweight compared to them tonight.”
“I think in this level of football if you play at home second game in three days you’ve got a hell of an advantage, people have been at work and all sorts of different things have gone on. Psychologically and physically it’s a lot easier and a Monday night game is good for the home side at this level.”
Gainsborough Trinity: Barnes; Roma, Sandwith, Cowan, Boyce, Leary, D’Laryea, Williams (Coleman 56), Kendall, Clare (McMahon 65) , Yates (Paczkowsi 62). Not used: Waterfall, Warlow.
Hinckley United: Haystead; Oddy, Dudley, Horne, McAughtrie, Richards-Everton, Gray (Newton 84), Kerry, Clarke, Kolodvnski, Hendrie. Not used: Lister; Byrne, Holt, Hodgson.
Referee: Darren England. Assistants: Sean Richardson, Nicholas Hopton.
Goals: Kerry (25), Gray (36, 52).