Matt McClure’s ninth goal of the season was enough to secure three points for Gloucester City at Edgar Street and send them four points clear at the top of the National League North.
City had to scrap to repel the Bull’s relentless late attacks as both sides were reduced to ten men in the second half, but the Tigers held on to secure their first clean sheet in over a year, and their first win at Edgar Street since 1953 against former occupants Hereford United.
Following Saturday’s 4-4 draw against Bradford, Manager James Rowe showed that he wasn’t afraid to shake up the pack by benching both Ben Morgan and Bernard Mensah to make way for Jack James and former Bull Tommy O’Sullivan.
As ever City began brightly and a well-worked throw in routine was the source of the only goal of the game on 13 minutes. George Carline’s signature long throw was flicked on at the near post and McClure arrived with perfect timing at the back stick to head home.
Hereford’s John-Lewis nearly equalised for the hosts on 18 minutes but headed inches wide from McQuilkin’s cross, and shortly after Asante tested Bull’s keeper White with shot that was tipped around the post.
On 32 minutes City spurned an opportunity to double their lead when Asante missed a penalty. McClure had been brought down just inside the box but Asante, who’d converted penalties in the previous two matches, was unable to beat White who guessed correctly and saved low to his right. Asante received a caution for his challenge whilst chasing the rebound.
Hereford started to take the game to City in the second half and City responded by using their physicality to take the sting out of Hereford’s ascendency. Lovett was the busier of the two keepers as the Bulls looked to take advantage of regular set piece opportunities, but the stopper showed that he was a more than able replacement for Louie Moulden as he commanded his area well.
James Rowe may well have a selection headache when Moulden returns from England U19 duty, likewise the performance of Jack James showed that City have depth within a small squad.
Hereford’s best chance to level the score came on 73 minutes when McQuilkin’s shot hit the post. The game appeared to take a turn for City’s favour when former Tiger Tom Owen-Evans was sent off for a second yellow after a late challenge. But it was a short-lived advantage as Asante was also shown his marching orders for a clumsy foul on Hodgkiss.
City weathered the inevitable storm for the final ten minutes, and held on to secure a valuable three points. It was a different kind of performance from the swashbuckling style they have adopted at home, but it was exactly what was required to prove that this side have guts as well as glamour.
City continue their busy November schedule with a trip to Guiseley on Saturday, 3pm, which is being streamed for free on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialGuiseleyAFC
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Star Man: Jack James
Hereford FC: White, Hodgkiss, Grimes, Owen-Evans, Digie, John-Lewis, McQuilkin (sub Finn 79) Lloyd (sub Nabi 88) Klukowski (sub Coke 45) Jones, Mooney
Subs not used: Camwell, Whittingham
Cautions: Klukowski (y), Owen-Evans (2y, 1r), John-Lewis (y)
Gloucester City: Lovett, Carline, Whittle, Gunning, Daly (c), Dawson, Thomas, Asante, McClure (sub Bailey-Nicholls 89), O’Sullivan (sub Morgan 80) James
Subs not used: Robert, Mensah, King
Cautions: Daly (y), Asante (2y, 1r)