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Tuesday 16 February 1999: The Lawn

Forest Green Rovers v. CITY

Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup, Semi-Final


City's Team

City put the record straight as the rightful pecking order of Gloucestershire football was re-asserted at The Lawn. The Nailsworth outfit showed that the dizzy heights of the Conference are not beyond Gloucester as the Tigers showed enough grit to come away with a well earnt 4-2 extra time victory. Traditionally sides treat County Cup matches lightly, but there was little sign of this as Gregan picked nearly a full strength side. Hughes meanwhile rested several players carrying knocks: Hemmings, both Thorne brothers and Wyatt all missed the match.

City started the game confidently, presumably relishing a local match that was also away, where their recent form has been top notch. The early pressure came through Mings who was causing Rovers all sorts of difficulties, and he should perhaps of done better with a scuffed effort after Mainwaring had sent over an inviting low cross. Mings was then pushed from the ball, giving Burns the chance to put over a free kick which Kemp headed just over.

Rovers seemed to be forced into playing the ball long, probably habits learnt from necessity due to the dreadful state of the pitch. One of these long balls almost sent Mehew through, but Niblett was quick in providing cover. City were torturing Rovers on the right flank, with Holloway, Burns and Webb all working hard. It was down this wing where Mainwaring took down a lofted cross field ball from Fergie, and then out muscled Coupe to turn and send a low shot past the statuesque Shuttlewood.

Mainwaring's confidence visibly grew with his first goal in a month, and he almost grabbed a second minutes later when his acrobatic overhead kick almost converted a Mings cross. The game then took an ugly turn as the referee missed a couple of over the top challenges from both sides. Things came to a head when Holloway was clattered, with Mainwaring still down holding his head from a hefty challenge moments earlier. Holloway was lucky to escape with a booking after he retaliated with a nicely executed right hook to the culprit's jaw. The general scuffle was only diffused by Callinan, presumably the surroundings triggering paternal memories from his assistant manager's days.

The second half looked like coming to the boil early on when Shuttlewood proved to slow and fat to drop his trailing leg away from Mainwaring's leg. Some how the over-rated fat boy avoided any official retribution, and even got the ball back in a show of sportsmanship which would have made even Arsene Wenger sniffle. Rovers then grabbed a stunning equaliser when Alex Sykes smacked in a 25 yard free kick, which caught Mountain unsighted. City then looked vulnerable as only woeful Forest Green finishing saw the Tiger's defence remain intact. As the minutes ticked by City pushed forward, with both Mings and Mainwaring going close. However City got caught by a classic counter attack, and Sykes avoided a marginal offside decision to put Rovers ahead.

Wilkes then crowned a poor performance by giving City a controversial penalty. Clever passing triangles between Burns, Fergie and Tucker put in Mings on the left hand side of the box. He pushed the ball ahead, and then took advantage of a rash Rovers leg to tumble over for a questionable spot kick. Holloway made no mistake, and gave City an equaliser they deserved on balance of play, although not for the foul.

Extra time prolonged the cold for the disappointingly low crowd. Hughes took advantage of the chance to blood two debutants, both Jamie Smith and Steve Jenkins having starred for Burns' successful youth team. Jenkins persistence helped rattle the Rovers defence, and Shuttlewood fluffed a hasty clearance straight into the patch of Mainwaring. His pass then caught Forest Green sleeping, and Mings tapped in at the far post.

The second half of extra time saw Mings replacement Jamie Smith cause all sorts of problems for City against tiring legs. His pace saw him set up Mainwaring for one chance, before another Burns slide rule pass set him through on goal. The hapless Hedges tripped him up for another penalty, this time as undisputable as Holloway's second spot kick was unstoppable. City's victory sets up a mouth watering final against the old enemy, Ch@#tenham Town, although it has to be hoped it won't just be an opportunity for their unbearably smug new supporters to flaunt a place in the League.

Mountain W4-2 (aet)
Holloway Half-time
Fergusson 1-0
2-2 (FT)
Callinan Att.
Kemp (c) 501
Niblett City Scorer
Webb Mainwaring(23), Holloway(82pen, 118pen), Mings(100)
Burns Bookings
Mainwaring Fergusson, 
Mings Position
Tucker -

Smith (for Mings, 97) LWWDWW
Jenkins (for Callinan, 90) Report
Hoskins T.Towel


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