Late winner puts Blues through

Gainsborough Trinity v Grimsby Town. Trinity player Michael Leary G110730-6d
Gainsborough Trinity v Grimsby Town. Trinity player Michael Leary G110730-6d

A DRAMATIC last-gasp header from Andrew Boyce in extra-time ensured Trinity’s FA Cup journey continued on Tuesday night.

Michael Leary’s first half effort was cancelled out by AFC Fylde’s Ritchie Allen before the interval and neither side could find a winner in normal time.

Gainsborough Trinity FC.  Andrew Boyce  (G110812-1r)

Gainsborough Trinity FC. Andrew Boyce (G110812-1r)

And an extra 30 minutes devoid of little goalmouth action was only settled in the final minute when Boyce pounced to nod home Gavin Cowan’s flick.

Manager Steve Housham said he was pleased to see his side scrape through even though they required an additional period to do so.

He told the Standard: “They gave it a real go over these two games but luckily we are the ones that have gone through.”

“But what a way to win it, obviously heart-breaking for Fylde but it’s the FA Cup and it was a typical FA Cup tie.”

The visitors could count themselves unlucky not to have forced a penalty shoot-out at the very least after matching Trinity, a side two leagues above them, right up until the death.

And Housham had nothing but praise for the Evo-Stik Division One North minnows after the game.

“All credit to Fylde they gave us a game over these two games barring the twenty minutes at their place where we dominated,” he added.

“We were not at our best we know that but teams like Fylde will always come and give it everything they’ve got and we had to be brave and match them and in spells we did [that].

“I was disappointed we gave the ball away cheaply too often but it’s the FA Cup and we’re through.”

Housham brought Leary, Ryan Williams and Leon Mettam into the side that squandered a two-goal lead at Kellamergh Park on Saturday.

And that hangover looked like spilling over into the replay when home custodian Andrew Pettinger had to claw away Keigan Parker’s free-kick inside the opening minutes.

Buoyed by their lively start, the Coasters should have broken the deadlock seconds later but Ritchie Allen fired wide from six yards after picking up Boyce’s poor clearance.

It took the Blues a while to find their feet and only Ryan Kendall mustered anything of an attacking threat nodding wide Leary’s pinpoint cross on the quarter hour.

However on 18 minutes, the breakthrough did come through Leary who curled a low shot past visiting stopper Danny McDonald to give the hosts the lead.

Fylde continued to press in numbers though and former Lincoln City striker Lee Thorpe almost found an equaliser but for the acrobatic efforts of Kevin Sandwith who superbly cleared his effort off the line.

Just before the half hour mark, Fylde were rewarded for their persistence when winger Mike Barnes squared for the unmarked Allen and he had the simple task of slotting into an empty net.

Approaching the interval, Kendall failed to make a clean enough contact on Sandwith’s delivery from the left and both teams went in level at the break.

Minutes into the second period, Mettam had the visitor’s crossbar rattling with a wicked shot and Lewis McMahon couldn’t turn home the rebound.

But back came Fylde and it was their turn to hit the woodwork, this time Barnes’ beat Pettinger and his shot from an acute angle hit the bar and fortunately for Gainsborough cannoned to safety.

Trinity were incensed not to have been awarded a penalty when substitute Jamie Yates appeared to have been brought down inside the box but referee Jason Whiteley waved away the Blues protests.

Kevin Sandwith almost put through his own net from a Fylde corner with 10 minutes remaining as both sides chased a winner.

As extra-time loomed large, Yates went close and Leary drilled a shot wide when expertly picked out by the former Boston man.

In the opening period of extra time, a slip from Fylde’s Joe Booth nearly gifted Leary a second but he was foiled by the outstretched arm of McDonald.

Ritchie had a great chance to win it for the visitors, but after running almost half the length of the field he dragged a shot wide of Pettinger’s post.

And just as the tie looked destined for a penalty shootout, Cowan flicked on a Yates corner and there was Boyce to nod home from close range.

It proved to be the last action of an entertaining tie and Trinity will now face Frickley Athletic in the third qualifying round after they overcame Harrogate Town in a replay.

Gainsborough Trinity: Pettinger; Roma, Sandwith, Cowan, Boyce, Leary, D’Laryea, R. Williams, Kendall (Stamp 120), Mettam (Nelthorpe 71), McMahon (Yates 61). Subs (not used): Waterfall; Gray, Warlow, Coleman.

AFC Fylde: McDonald; Heywood, Jarvis, Stringfellow (Booth 30), Steel, Mercer, Kay, Parker, Thorpe (Unsworth 70), Barnes, Allen. Subs (not used): Penswick, McNiven, Kusaloka.

Referee: Jason Whiteley

Assistants: Mark Eyre, Andy Park.

Goals: Leary 18, Boyce 120; Allen 27.

Attendance: 525