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Tuesday 24 October 2006
FA Trophy
1st Qualifying Round Replay
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
Trophy logo

New Tigers Badge: no-one knows why...

Gloucester City

(4-2 pens)

Tiverton Town

Tivvy - line drawing

HT (1-1)
FT (1-1)

J.Welsh (16,115)
City home kitTivvy away kit
A.Thomas (21),
N.Pepperell (119)
N.Mustoe ©
S.Flack ©
(for 8, 66) J.Reid
(for 9, 116) D.Mehew
P.Wyatt (for 9, 110)
Robison (scored), Fowler (scored), Mustoe (scored), Tustain (saved),
Reid (scored).
4-2 McConnell (saved), Davies (saved),
Mudge (scored), Pepperell (scored).
City: D.Wilkinson (late tackle 35)
Tiverton: none
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Jason Welsh - worked really hard to lead the line and his strength caused Tivvy real problems. Deserved his goals.

grass trim rule

This cracking rollercoaster of a match showed that football can entertain, grip and take you to the verge of nervous meltdown without the drama of the game always needing any great individual skills. This contest had plenty of teeth gnashing gut churning tension and without being lit up by any particular moments of brilliance it is a match that those present won't forget in a hurry. For Matt Bath it was a fantastic night - as he ended up as a hero amongst a team of imperfect heroes. Just a few weeks ago the City keeper carried the can for our dismal departure from the FA Cup at Eastleigh, yet back in the side he enjoyed the enthusiastic hugs of his manager having saved two critical spot kicks to take Gloucester through this tie 4-2 on penalties.

City had started brightly with Aaron Wilson's cross almost forcing a Tiverton defender to head into his own goal under pressure from Tustain. Fowler had a snap shot whistle into the hoardings and Wilson again unlocked a static looking Tiverton defence with a pass that picked out Welsh's run, his shot pulled across goal and narrowly wide of the far post. We seemed to be able to cause their back four all sorts of problems by running from deep and a fine City move finally carved them completely open. Wilson and Tustain slid through midfield and found Fowler in space on the edge of the box. He drew both the remaining defenders and unselfishly slipped the ball inside for Jason Welsh who kept his cool to slide the ball beneath Clapham in the Tivvy goal. It was a fantastic slick move and a fine team goal.

It really looked as if City could go nand take control of the match but Tiverton did manage to find some shape and force their way back into the game. Our lead lasted barely five minutes and Tiverton were level after we failed to deal with a free kick on the left of the penalty area. The ball was drilled in low past our defensive wall and Anthony Thomas was on hand to stab the ball beyond Matt Bath from close range. Ironically the former Newport County defender had been a player Tim Harris had been said to be courting for a move to City just a few weeks ago.

It could have been worse for us as we were finding former Exeter target man Steve Flack hard to handle, but for all his height and strength he couldn't head any better than Charles I, placing two free headers over the bar when we looked to have lost him in the box. City were having their own problems in front of goal. Hamblin flailed at an opportunity in the box after Robison and Noakes had returned a half cleared City corner, and then Welsh got under a header to put it over the bar as he reached a perfectly flighted Mike Fowler free kick.

By the second half both sides were finding it hard to keep the ball down for long periods and the match was far from a great display, but for all of that was completely absorbing as a hard fought scrap between two sides determined not to give up despite the amount of things not working for them on the pitch. There were moments when City's passing clicked and when it did the route to goal didn't look complicated against a Tiverton defence that always looked just a touch away from panic. Mustoe's ball was flicked on by Welsh and Tustain couldn't quite connect fully to get a firm shot. City came close again when with Hamblin climbed all over by Flack the Tivvy defence were looking guiltily at the ref, but missed Welsh whose scuffed volley ended up being clutched onto his post by Clapham.

City were keeping up the pressure and Wilson even tried a Luis Garcia style lob from distance, but it sailed well wide. We were far closer in minutes though with another inch perfect Neil Mustoe pass cleverly flicked on by Wilson straight into the path of Welsh. The big man is deceptively quick to turn and his swift strike from the edge of the box deserved better than to bounce off the base of the post having beaten the keeper at full stretch. Tiverton survived their scares and before the final whistle it was City who were living on their nerves, first seeing the cross bar rattled as a corner was met by a firm header from Flack, then seeing Matt Bath make a fine low save to keep the scores level. We then survived a real heart in the mouth moment as Flack seemed to bundle through first Robison and then Bath to put the ball into the net. It looked like a foul from the other end, but the ref had been so poor at getting anything right it was a huge relief to see him spot this one and scrub out the goal.

By extra time it was hard to see much of the hell of what was going on. By now trying to watch the game was all but impossible, it was too tense and too emotionally fraught for much to make sense. It all became a bit more impressionistic, glimpses of colour and a great deal of head holding aa another misplaced pass or another dubious bit of refereeing. Both teams were tired, and passing which had only rarely been accurate were now flying into the stands with increasing frequency, even Fowler and Mustoe were losing their range. When players went down now they often didn't get back up, heavy legs and cramp taking their toll. The fans weren't faring a whole lot better- strung out and hoarse, the world against us and always that nagging fear that City would find the most gut wrenching way possible of throwing it away.

Tiverton started the extra period the stronger and could have scored had they been sharper in the box. The new Tivvy youngster Pepperill had impressed throughout the match and he some how enjoyed a long run through on goal but as the City defenders surrounded him his shot was straight at Matt Bath, Noakes and Robison both on hand to help mop up the loose ball. Thomas could have done more damage as he met a cross from a corner, but his header was blocked on the line and cleared by Jonny Miller. By the second period City had wrestled more control of the match again and the game caught fire as Michael Noakes went down in some pain after a collision with the keeper, all the rage at the moment. During the lull in play the Tivvy players made the mistake of exchanging insults with the T-End and suddenly the hostility and noise went up a few notches, with Jason Welsh urging more and more noise from the City fans. Perhaps over the years the T-End has become a little fluffy, no longer quite the seething cauldron of resentment and small-minded partisan fury that demands our own players sweat blood and the opposition bowels' liquefy in front of the righteous wrath. By the end of last night that a few vocal fans can help change a match was back with us.

Steve Flack is an experienced player and he was stupid at the resulting corner, his off the ball kick at Jason Welsh was missed by the ref but not by many of the other players or the watching T-End. He escaped without a red card and a penalty but was subbed soon after. This wasn't a match for people losing their cool. City seemed to be doing well at the back with both Miller and Noakes doing well to close down attacks, and with Tivvy struggling against the pace of Wilson we were going to create a chance. He won a free kick which Miller fired into the box, leaving the Tivvy defenders slow to respond as Noakes scrapped for it and then leaving Robison to side foot his shot goalward. Two defenders were set to reach it first, but Jason Welsh bundled his way in to push it over the line and to set the T-End into absolute apoplexy. What followed was bizarre - even by City standards. One minute we were faced with a big, hairy excited Welshman enjoying the moment, the next same man was a bundle on the grass is some pain. Had he been hit by one too many celebrating colleagues, and he been wrenched into the T-End moshpit? It wasn't clear, but when you have an injury list like ours to see your top scorer leaving the match clutching his shoulder knowing it was effectively a self-inflicted injury - not good....

And it seemed set to get worse. Dave 'Boris' Mehew was thrown on as a late sub, the assistant manager is more or less retired and his City debut shouldn't have been in a match like this. As it was he and Aaron Wilson lost the ball on the half-way line and Tiverton attacked. We had countless chances to clear our lines, and twice clearances that should have been in the stands were kept alive on the touchline by desperate Tiverton players. Finally another deep cross cut out all of our defenders and found Pepperell unmarked and he rifled his volley back across goal and into the net. One minute left on the clock, and for the third time in the tie we'd seen our lead cancelled out.

Penalties. City aren't by tradition great when the pressure's on and the nerves are jangling. Tivvy are a side full of solid ex-pros and experienced players, plus you felt they'd snatched the draw and must have the mental edge now. In City's favour - a vocal and now emotional overwrought bunch of fans, and something about a City side that is often at it's best when most up against it. The ref tossed his coin to decide ends - and what a surprise it wasn't to be in front of the T-End, the Lee Randall legend deepening with his frantic signals to the City faithful - get to the other end. Whilst the players went clammy-palmed the fans were scrambling to the car park end. First up was Robison, the veteran always seems ice cool and was there any better way to mark your debut than with an unhesitating spot kick. And then up stepped Tivvy's Barry McConnell - he hadn't helped himself by having a go at the T-End earlier and there was some inevitability that he struggled to ignore the cat calls. His spot kick was sound, but nowhere near good enough to beat Matt Bath who saved well. Fowler's kick was accurate and into the net, then came Tivvy left-back Darren Davies - his kick was low and firm but Matt stood his ground and saved again. The City keeper was throwing us a match winning life-line. Then up stepped skipper Neil Mustoe. No player feels the yellow and black fires like this man, and he's missed spot-kicks before. It's time to look away... but the keeper follows his eyes and has gone the wrong way. 3-0 up. Then Mudge scores, then Joe Tustain - why is the youngster taking this, perhaps the least experienced player in our side? His kick is on target but too tame to beat the keeper, then Tivvy score again through Pepperell. Suddenly at 3-2 the tie is no formality. Our last kicker is Jamie Reid, last season's youth skipper and in the dog house after his red card last Saturday. What Reid isn't low on though is confidence - and his kick is high into the side of the net. 4-2, an unassailable lead. City through, players and fans weak kneed but delighted, Tim Harris hugging the keeper he dropped just a few weeks ago, Jody punching the air with his crutches. A magic night at Meadow Park. It was a night where no player could fail to think of a crucial mistake they'd made, but a night where they all made a heroic contribution to a fantastic result for a side left running on sheer guts and determination and nothing else left in the tank.

We now go on to face Margate of the Ryman Isthmian Premier at home in the 2nd Qualifying Round, it should be an interesting game but not one we should fear - although no-one would much fancy a midweek replay trip to North Kent. City have already managed to accumulate £1,350 prize money from this victory. Tim Harris must be tempted to see if he could use the cash to get in a forward on loan - the cupboard looks bare if Welsh is ruled out to sit alongside Jody Bevan. With Corbett released and Whittington back at Whaddon Road our striking options are limited to the hard-working but still raw Joe Tustain and who ever else get's pressed into service as a makeshift forward. We'll need more....


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
The camera don't do night time - donations towards better kit always gratefully received.

Team Selection:
Down to his last 12 fit and available players Tim Harris sprung a few surprises, not least the return of Darren Robison. The two must have managed to patch up whatever differences that led to Robison leaving in September and the return of the veteran centre-back couldn't have come at a better time, his reassuring presence crucial to seeing us through the game. The additional personnel also meant Tim Harris could make a point, so Jamie Reid found himself on the bench after his red card for dissent in the Saturday
TBBM Said:
"Is that you linesman?"
In response to a lone cry of "come on you whites" from the cow shed behind the assistant. The Tivvy fans were so quiet you wondered why they'd bothered. The hapless linesman couldn't even tell the difference between a corner and a throw-in, or give them to the right side, never mind complicated stuff like pushing and fouls.
Tactics Board:
Aaron Wilson was given an almost free reign to attack from midfield poistions and Tiverton never got close to him although he didn't enjoy one of his better games with the final ball often eluding him. As City tired and the mdifield became more withdrawn the strength, height and willingness of Jason Welsh to chase the ball over the top became even more essential.
Anorak Corner:
Perhaps we're getting better at penalties. This was our first shoot-out since February 1998 when we finally despatched Burton Albion 6-5 on penalties after the FA Trophy 2nd Round replay at their ground ended in a 2-2 draw. Prior to that we lost on spot kicks in the County Cup three times: in the 1996 Final at Ch#*tenham, at home to then tenants Newport in the 1994/5 semis, and at home to Ch#*tenham in the 1989/90 semi-finals.
T-Ender Verdict
City won't worry at all that we rarely managed to play much football for long periods of the match. The manager had few options when it came to selection and after twice surrendering the lead it would have been all too easy for the players to crumble. They showed great spirit to go on and win the shoot out, and to win this tie with so many key players missing. They were challenged to show their character tonight and the club can be very proud of them.
Highlights Elsewhere:

Did it matter what was happening elsewhere? Little to compare with this - but the City youth team ended up on the rubbish end of a 7-0 mauling in the FA Youth Cup against Exeter City. The pro side's daily training and greater fitness really told as the match wore on, six of the goals coming in the second half.

There was little more of direct interest to us but big replay wins for Banbury United, who beat Taunton 5-1 at home, and for Chippenham who couldn't find the net in 90 minutes but then ended up 3-0 winners over Hillingdon Borough after extra time. Halesowen also went on to the 2nd Qualifying Round with a good 2-1 win and second half come back against Unibond Premier side Hednesford.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report
Exeter Express match report

Further Reading:

FA Trophy website
BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: J.Farris (Adderbury, Oxford) City League Pos: n/a City Form: DDDWWL

Ref Watch:

5 - Missed too many pushes and over fussy on small issues. Abley hindered by his linesmen.

Attendance: 372    
Conditions: dry but dull.
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

Work commitments mean that we are keen to obtain other match reporters willing to provide details on some City matches. All text can be supplied by email, with no need to worry about web design or formatting. If you are interested please contact the T-Ender.

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