James Rowe admitted his sides’s first half performance wasn’t up to scratch, but praised their second half response as Gloucester City notched up another win in their run of three consecutive away games, which ends at Gateshead on Tuesday.
‘It was a pleasing win, we were not good enough in the first half and there were some
choice words said at half-time but we put that right in the second half.’ he said.
After a drab first half, the prolific strike partnership of Matt McClure and Akwasi Asante put City 2-0 up before they conceded a late penalty and had Kevin Dawson sent off.
Louie Moulden returned from England U19 duty to reclaim his place in goal , as did Ben Morgan and Bernard Mensah in defence and midfield respectively after being benched midweek at Hereford.
City looked more subdued than normal in the first half, the direct style they tend to adopt away from home was more of a necessity on a playing surface which captain Liam Daly described as ‘heavy’.
Chances were few and far between, but Guiseley managed to test Moulden early on when Harratt found himself unmarked and was able to get a shot away from a tight angle which was well blocked.
City’s best chance of the half fell to McClure on 30 minutes, his effort hit the post from Carline’s cross and Morgan could find the target with the rebound. Shortly after Guiseley had another good opportunity when Newell managed to break clear of Daly who was the last man. Daly did well to recover and put Newell off, with the help of a timely bobble, and Newell’s connection wasn’t good enough to beat Moulden who spilled the shot for a corner.
Mensah made way for O’Sullivan at the break and things began to click more City in the second half, with Daly’s header from a corner forcing a stretched save from Wade on 46 minutes.
The breakthrough came on 48 minutes when Howarth conceded a penalty as he attempted to prevent Daly from flicking on Carline’s long throw. After Asante’s saved effort at Hereford, McClure took over penalty duties and scored his tenth league goal of the season from the spot.
It didn’t take long for Gloucester to double their lead, Gunning’s corner was headed down into the box by Morgan, and fell kindly to Asante to hammer in on 51 minutes.
City never really let Guiseley get back in to the game, using their physicality to hamper Guiseley’s efforts to mount a comeback. O’Sullivan and Morgan both picked up bookings, and when Dawson attempted an overhead kick clearance on 87 minutes his boot found the face of Ekpolo and the ref pointed to the spot and showed Dawson a second yellow.
Mbeka scored from the spot to make it 2-1 and City saw out the remaining few minutes with ten men, Josh Thomas clearing Cantrall’s effort off the line with the final kick of the game.
It will come as no surprise that whilst City are top of the table on points, their disciplinary record is the worst in the division. However, James Rowe defended his side’s approach after the match: ‘I don’t think there was anything too outrageous today, it was a competitive game and we want to stop counter-attacks as best we can, fairly’
City travel to Gateshead on Tuesday seven points clear of second place Fylde, but without Akwasi Asante who is suspended for one game after his red card at Hereford, and there are also fitness doubts over Matt McClure who was subbed for a tight quadriceps.
Star Man: Alex Whittle
Guiseley AFC: Wade, Currie (sub Cowan 55), Newall, Kellett (sub Haw 74), Bencherif (C), Cantrill, Mbeka, Ekpolo, Harratt, Howarth (sub Hey 55), Johnson.
Subs not used: Ryan, Nicholson
Gloucester City: Moulden, Carline, Whittle, Gunning (sub James 71), Daly (C), Dawson, Thomas, Asante, McClure (sub Bailey-Nicholls 57) Mensah (sub O’Sullivan 45),Morgan
Subs not used: Lovett, Robert
Cautions: Dawson (2y, 1r) O’Sullivan (y), Morgan (y)