Superb saves from Mike Green and a first half goal from Danny Andrew helped Gloucester to an import win over local rivals Worcester.
In the last Boxing Day fixture at St George’s Lane Worcester were keen to make an impact from the start, with Greg Mills’ early attempt to chip Mike Green beating the keeper but landing the wrong side of the post.
Gloucester were forced into an early change with Chris Holland pulling up injured with just five minutes played, making way for Matt Liddiard.
It was the visitors who had the first shot on target, 18 minutes in, when Adam Mann collected a slick pass from Jordan Goddard, forcing Matt Sargeant to tip the ball wide.
Goddard, heading up a midfield missing two key players in Tom Webb and Lewis Hogg, looked calm and assured.
Sargeant’s opposite number Green made an equally important save moments later, stopping Mills from heading a cross from his former Bristol Rovers teammate Charlie Reece into the net.
Green was back in action just three minutes later blocking low shot from Kyle Patterson. Sam Rawlings, taking the place of Green’s namesake at right back enjoyed a busy first half, stopping another shot from the rampant Mills on the half hour mark.
Green blocked a further shot from Mills, leaving Jack Harris to stop the follow up from Reece on 33 minutes.
It was Tyler Weir, who turned down a move to Gloucester in favour of Worcester who gave away a free kick on 36 minutes, bringing down Adam Mann on the edge of the box. Danny Andrew stepped up to take the kick, beat the wall and sent Sargeant the wrong way to put Gloucester ahead.
Green was busy again before the half was out, blocking from Mills once more.
The second half saw more cavalier defending from Gloucester as they were pressed hard but the visitors’ work rate never faltered, with Adam Mann and Bagasan Graham running riot down the flanks.
Edwards’ deft touch kept the ball in play on 64 minutes but his cross was an inch too far for Morford to connect as the Tigers looked for a second.
Steve Davies injected pace, coming on for Graham with 20 minutes left to play but as the game entered its final phase it was Green who was once again under pressure.
But the young Bristolian soaked up the shots and the second half downpour with aplomb, sealing an important three points for his side.
A late free kick for Worcester was wasted as City ran out deserved winners.
Worcester City: M Sargeant, T Weir (M Taylor 76) E Deeney, T Thorley, J Rowe, G Hutchinson, C Reece (A Sammons 72) M Breeze, M Symons, K Patterson (D Glover 63) G Mills. Subs: S Whitehead,, G Thompson
Gloucester City: M Green, S Rawlings, D Andrew, T Hamblin, C Holland (M Liddiard 5) J Harris, B Graham (S Davies 70) J Goddard, D Edwards, A Mann. Subs: J Parker, N Mustoe, M Green
Ref: R Ellis
Star man: Mike Green (gk)