A FINAL roll of the tactical dice from Steve Housham paid dividends on Saturday when substitute Andrew Boyce powered in a last-gasp header with his very first touch to give the Blues a 3-2 win over Histon.
Boyce, who has seen first-team opportunities limited in recent weeks, was sent on deep into stoppage time and duly rewarded his manager’s faith by netting the winner on the Northolme.
It broke the Stutes stubborn resolve after they had completed the most unlikely of turnarounds with an hour of the game played.
Paul Connor’s first goal for the club had given the Blues a slender advantage at the half-time interval, but Danny Holman’s close range strike and James Stevenson’s 30-yard rocket soon changed the complexion of the game.
Leon Mettam was thrust into the fray with 10 minutes left to play, and he won Trinity an 85th minute penalty but unlike last week at Solihull, he left the kick-taking duties to Connor.
The former Mansfield Town man sent Histon stopper Jorg Stadelmann the wrong way to level the scores before Boyce’s injury time header sealed the victory and kept the Blues in the hunt for a play-off place.
And after the game a delighted Housham said of the defender’s heroics: “I thought the delivery in the second half was good.”
“But I thought right at the death Boycey is going to go on and head it, and he’s come on and I’m delighted for him.”
“He’s been unfortunate with Luke (Waterfall) playing well, because Boycey was playing well before that but then he went through a spell and he finds himself on the sidelines.”
“I’m pleased for him that he’s come on and got the winning goal – delighted.”
The hosts, for all their early dominance only had Connor’s 24th minute opener to show for their efforts.
And mid-table Histon, like they did in the reverse fixture at Bridge Road last month, proved they are no pushovers with two goals in 12 second half minutes.
At the very least, it looked like they would take a point back with them to Cambridgeshire.
Housham added: “We gave away two sloppy goals again, but we had that belief and kept going until the end.”
“The elements didn’t help, for both teams it was a bad spectacle because of the wind.”
“Second half we started slow, but last 20 minutes we got our rewards for working really hard.”
“Leon Mettam comes on and delivers that spark and he was superb when he came on too.”
The result moves Trinity level on points with fifth-placed Nuneaton Town, who occupy the final play-off position in Blue Square Bet North, ahead of Tuesday’s rearranged visit to FC Halifax.
Gainsborough Trinity: Emery; Roma, Sandwith, Watts, Waterfall, Clarke (Mettam 79), D’Laryea, R. Williams, Kendall, Connor, Yates (Boyce 90). Subs (not used): Ridley, McMahon, Leary.
Histon: Stadelmann; Roberts, Fitzsimmons, Dowie, Clerima, Livermore, Taffe (Gomez 85), Stevenson, Holman, Riza, Sparkes. Subs (not used): Hawkins; Logon, Day, Crook.
Goals: Connor 24, 85 (pen) Boyce 90; Holman 47, Stevenson 60.
Referee: Paul Graham.
Assistants: Justin Hayes, Martyn Rawcliffe.