Gloucester City Development Squad pulled off a late, late giant-killing in the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup as they beat Hungerford Reserves in a classic game of two halves.
Hungerford Reserves, who play two divisions above Gloucester, were outplayed in a first half in which Gloucester dominated possesion and chances. Ben Prictor made a surging run down the left wing early on and cut the ball back across goal but his pass evaded City’s oncoming attackers.
City came close again on 20 minutes when Brett James fed one-time Gloucester City first-teamer Andy Varnham, whose low drive into the box was blazed over by Price. Moments later, Mike Tambling was fed a precision pass by the outstanding left-back Adam Mann and Tambling’s cross was smashed home by Varnham to give Gloucester a deserved lead.
First-team squad members Neil Mustoe and Mike Tambling both played ninety minutes and Tambling in particular revelled in the extra space afforded to him, making several mazy dribbles and pulling the strings in central midfield. However, despite City’s dominance Hungerford went in level at half time as their forward was tripped by Mace in one of their rare ventures in the Gloucester box, with Thorpe converting the resulting penalty.
The second half was a different story as Hungerford seemed to finally awaken and had the lion’s share of posession. Prictor came close for Gloucester early in the half as he was fed clean through, but the angle was too acute and his side-footed shot went narrowly wide. Gloucester held on thanks to the experience of Mustoe who marshalled the back line and the introduction of Josh Holford for Mace which gave Prictor more space as he moved to the right wing.
Neither side looked like scoring and City’s hard working forwards began to tire as extra-time loomed, but the breakthrough finally came when Scott Claridge powered home a header from a corner in the 92nd minute to give Gloucester’s emerging stars a deserved victory.
Gloucester City Development: Rose, Mustoe, Twyman, Mace (sub Holford 60), Mann, James, Claridge, Tambling, Prictor, Price, Varnham. Subs not used: Hall (gk), B preece, Faye, Smith.
Star man: Adam Mann – showed compusure in possesion and incisive going forward