Delighted Gainsborough Trinity manager Dave Frecklington praised his players for starting the crucial festive period with a big win over relegation rivals Darlington — their first match for three weeks after a weather-enforced lay-off.
The Holy Blues leapfrogged the visitors with a 3-1 victory that took Trinity out of the bottom three ahead of their Boxing Day clash at relegation rivals Boston United.
Trinity held off a second half fightback as ten-man Darlington halved the home side’s two-goal half-time lead.
Frecklington said: “To get three points after not playing for three weeks was massive.
“I have got to thank all the players. In the first half, going forward we were breathtaking at times.
“Darlington had a right go in the second half and for 20 minutes had us on the rack, but we dug deep and the skipper came up with a composed finish.
“It was all about the three points today and I am delighted to have got them. It was my kind of performance — very physical and very hard working. We got the ball forward quickly and won our first and second bits.
“We were well up for it and when we are like that we are a hard team to play against.”
Ashley Worsfold headed Trinity into an 11th minute lead from Tom Davie’s cross.
Ten minutes later the lead was doubled by a fine finish from Shane Clarke, who checked back on to his left foot inside the box and curled in off the underside of the bar.
A minute before half-time Darlington’s Dominic Collins was dismissed for a mis-timed challenge on Jordan Richards, but Joshua Gilles pulled a goal back midway through the second period.
However, six minutes from time home captain Nathan Jarman went through one-on-one to clinch victory.