It had been billed as The Great Escape, but Workington Reds didn’t clear the perimeter fence and it’s now Mission Impossible for the west Cumbrians.

Saturday’s eighth successive home defeat was clear indication of where their problems stem from and why they have not been able to put that escape plan into practice.

This was their worst sequence of home defeats since they lost seven in a row during their first season in the Football League back in 1951/52.

They inevitably finished bottom of Third Division North but were saved from a quick return to non-league by the old re-election process.

This latest defeat leaves them in the desperate position of being nine points from safety and only three games to play.

Gainsborough, meanwhile, push on for what they hope will be an involvement in the end-of-season play-offs.

And there’s the rub. None of the sides involved in the battle for promotion have been outstanding this season, and if Reds had produced anything like the consistent form that got them to three play-offs they would have been strong contenders.

But their struggles over the campaign were encapsulated in this penultimate home game of an increasingly dismal season.

It was virtually a re-run of Tuesday’s game against other promotion hopefuls in South Shields. Matching their opponents in both football ability and commitment they had slightly the better of the opening 40 minutes – and then disaster.

A penalty was awarded against them and converted to change the shape of the game.

It was never quite the same after that – incidentally the 12th penalty that Reds have conceded throughout the season.

Dan Wordsworth challenged Anthony Wilson in the box, perhaps when there was no need and, when the Trinity player went down, the referee had a decision to make.

Thirty seconds earlier he had ruled in Wordsworth’s favour when he clashed with Wilson in the area, but this time he pointed straight to the spot.

A precise finish by Ashley Worsfold, directed into the bottom corner with Aaran Taylor going the other way, had Trinity in front.

Although Reds had been promising in a lot of their build-up there hadn’t been enough bite near goal and keeper Joe Green had not been seriously tested.

Two shots, one from Scott Allison and the other from Brad Carroll were both comfortably dealt with.

The second half did at least produce a moment when Green did have work to do - a full-length save to turn a fierce, curling free-kick from Dave Symington round the post.

But by then Gainsborough had doubled their lead and Reds were down to ten men.

Allison was shown a straight red card on 65 minutes after a tackle on Ben Gordon which the referee considered to have been reckless.

Two minutes later Trinity doubled their lead. Ross Hannah whipped in a left-wing corner and Wilson thumped home a near post header.

There was still plenty of effort from Reds but very little threat and the final whistle ushered in a new unwanted record.

There’s still one game left at Borough Park before the agony ends. Surely the record won’t be extended to nine games against Lancaster City!