DESPITE finishing the game with just eight men, Trafford produced a tremendously gritty performance and could even have snatched a point in the closing stages.

Town were on top in the opening minutes without troubling young Kieran O’Hara in the Trafford goal and the first chance of the game fell to home striker Michael Oates who took the ball neatly on his chest but saw his shot deflected wide.

The visitors took the lead in the 23rd minute when home centre back Callum Jones was sent off for handling a goal bound header with Robert Duffy coolly netting the resultant spot kick.

Trafford were clearly rattled by this and when Duffy limped off in the 33rd minute, his replacement Ewan Clarke made it 2-0 wih his first touch from close range after a cross from the left by Dan Quigley.

Kieran O’Hara then completely missed his kick but saw the ball roll wide of the far post before Trafford were thrown a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.

A free kick was swung in from deep on the left and when the Town defence only half cleared the ball, Nia Bayunu struck an expertly executed volley into the top corner from 18 yards.

Town controlled possession at the onset of the second half although Trafford always looked dangerous on the break and on the hour mark Shelton Payne shot high and wide from 15 yards.

Payne then struck a sweet drive from 25 yards that Alex Street pushed behind and in the 73rd minute Paul Ashton should have equalised when he drove wide of the near post after more good work by the fleet-footed Payne.

In the 77th minute Kieran O’Hara produced a brilliant save to thwart a Jack McGovern free kick but disaster struck for the home side three minutes later when the talismanic Rory Fallon was sent off for a second cautionable offence.

To add to Trafford’s frustrations, Town midfielder Dan Quigley then scythed Andy Smart down with a desperate lunge and escaped without even a rebuke from the referee, and the home supporters looked on in disbelief as their side were reduced to eight men when Tom Schofield received his marching orders for a reckless foul after earlier being booked for a similar offence.

Incredibly, Trafford pushed forward in search of an unlikely equaliser with Shelton Payne firing in a free kick that was pushed behind by Street and Michael Oates volleying wide at the back post.

And five minutes into injury time the scores should have been levelled when Paul Ashton crossed from the left, Martyn Andrews failed to connect from just six yards and Oates shot straight at Street in the ensuing melee.

The final whistle signalled the end of a courageous display by Garry Vaughan’s young side and the end of their five game unbeaten run but they will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they travel to Worksop Town for an Evo Stik League Premier Division fixture kicking off at 3pm.