Mangotsfield v City

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Monday 21st April 2003
Cossham Street 

Mangotsfield United v CITY  

Dr Martens League Western Division

City's Team

Mangotsfield had recently crashed through the hundred goal barrier and City are the second highest scorers in the division, all be it lagging some way behind the Bristolians. People would have been expecting goals, but few would have predicted City matching the four they put past Mangotsfield as they ran out decisive 4-1 victors.

Burns showed that he has learnt plenty in his 100 games as City boss, bringing back Smith and Hoskins so that the Tigers started the game with probably their strongest line-up on the pitch. This was not immediately apparent though as it was our goal that led a charmed life in the first 20 minutes. The Mangos showed all the free flowing football that has earnt them many admirers in Gloucester, although few will have enjoyed seeing it unleashed at our own side. With little chance to get rid of the ball in the swirling wind City were left desperately hacking the ball clear of the penalty box. Despite some sterling work at the back we were twice thankful for Matt Bath. First he saved well at the feet of the dangerous Dave Seal, and then minutes later Bath was at full stretch to deny Shane Hobbs, on loan from Bristol Rovers. 

While City were rarely able to attack in numbers we did manage a couple of forays towards the 'Field area. Hoskins went close as he nearly reached a Harris cross and Hoskins almost ran clear onto a long clearance, but his stretching leg caught keeper Paul Thompson not the ball. Even with these attacks it was against the run of play when Cox carved open up the opposition down the right. He glanced up and as he closed in on the goal he passed it behind the defence for Tom Webb to score his first league goal from close range. 

This goal lifted City and rattled Mangotsfield who had found themselves suddenly very vulnerable at the back. For the first spell in the game Webb and Thompson were able to show some skills and both Harris and Smith were excellent at providing width when needed. City were looking dangerous now and Cox was unlucky with a run and drive that whistled into the hoardings. A few minutes later Cox almost put Webb in again, but this time he had to take the ball wide and his shot was too tame to trouble the keeper. Before the half was over City survived two close calls, once they were rescued by the crossbar and then moments later again by the excellent Matt Bath with another flying leap to tip another Hobbs shot over the bar. 

Harris powers down the City left 

It was only once the second half started that we became aware of just how strong the breeze was, and now City were playing with both the wind and the slope in their favour. They were also helped by the departure of Thompson from the home goal, but although defender Mark Summers provided some great comedy moments he wasn't at fault for any of the goals as City stepped up a gear.

From the re-start City took the game by the throat and both Hoskins and Smith had strong runs only halted by determined tackling. The home side could be less proud of their defending a few minutes later when a defender hacked Smith in the box, just inches from the by-line. The ref dismissed the penalty appeals and gave a corner, but Smith replied in the perfect way. The corner was cleared but only as far as Lee Smith on the edge of the area and he hit a venomous swirling dipping shot straight into the net. It was his 9th of the season and he looks an accomplished player now, it's easy to forget that only a year ago he was being castigated by every Tigers fan for missing yet another open goal at Chippenham. Sometimes it pays off to give young players a bit of time.

Hoskins challenges for a header

City were now firmly in control and the midfield was entirely ours. Wilkinson was keeping possession and picking up the pieces, while Webb and Thompson suddenly looked back to their best. With City buzzing there were plenty of chances for us in front of goal. Cox was desperately unlucky as his run led to a drive flying just wide, and Hoskins was also unlucky with a header that just lacked sufficient pace to worry the keeper. City fans did not have to wait long for the third that made the game safe. Harris slid Lee Smith in on the right and his low cross was just beyond both Cox and Thompson but Andy Hoskins was able to smash it in at the far post. It was Hosky's 20th of the season, and he celebrated reaching his personal goal target with a somersault.

While Gloucester were now by far the more powerful side Mangotsfield still tried to play football and were still more than capable of troubling City at the back. City's defence was doing well to minimise their sight of our goal, but on 68 minutes one cross eluded everyone and found Dave Sims with space to pull one back. Things could have become tense were it not for Matt Bath who was forced into another full length diving save, closely followed by a more comfortable stop from a long drive.

Smith is tumbled off the ball on the edge of the Mangotsfield box

The final meaningful action of the game was at the other end though as City looked to add to the score. Jimmy Cox was looking for a goal and he was unlucky twice. A strong run on the left carried him past several challenges but ultimately he ran out of space from a tight angle and could not find room for a shot. Summers looked like a replacement keeper for a few minutes, flapping a cross and fortunate neither Hoskins or Smith could take advantage. The keeper then rode his luck as he almost tripped on the perimeter hoards as he scampered behind his goal to retrieve the ball. However he showed himself to be more than a clown as the game drew to a close, pulling off a fantastic reflex stop when Jimmy Cox volleyed from Smith's cross.

City then put the final gloss on the score with Hoskins finding the net as the ball ricocheted around the 'Field area, Cox and Harris both seeing shots saved. Hoskins made no mistake though as he drilled the ball into the net to mark his 100th Tigers appearance with a brace of goals. This was a fine City performance against one of the best sides in the division, completing a league double and scoring 8 in the process. If City can keep this form together a top six finish is still a possibility this season, and provided momentum can be maintained next season could be even better. 

(HT: 1-0)


Webb (26)
Smith (48)
Hoskins (62,87)



Steadman Hoskins (foul)
Griffiths (foul)





not named


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