Charlie Griffin’s late header saved Gloucester City the ignominy of an FA Cup giant-killing after a troublesome and nervy afternoon at Paulton Rovers.\r\n\r\nMike Bryant opened the scoring midway through the first period after tapping home from close range after Paul White had excellently saved.\r\n\r\nTigers defender Matt Williams had a header cleared off the line minutes before the opener, and Chris Jones hit the post as City pushed for an equaliser that seemed like it wouldn’t come.\r\n\r\nWith a shock defeat looming, Griffin, as he has done so many times since joining in February, rose highest and forced a replay at Whaddon Road on Tuesday evening.\r\n\r\nTim Harris’ men had begun with potent intent as Griffin, Lewis Hogg and Mike Green all peppered the Paulton goal early.\r\n\r\nOnly a stupendous goal-line clearance by Tom Seary kept the scoring at bay with Williams rising highest from a corner.\r\n\r\nGoalkeeper Kyle Phillips was forced into another top save as Griffin fired a purposeful free-kick into the top corner.\r\n\r\nHowever, as so often in Gloucester City FA Cup ties, the lower league side stole a march as Bryant tapped home after White had parried a thunderous Josh Klein-Davies effort into his path.\r\n\r\nThe goal gave the Southern Premier League side some impetus as White was called into action to tip a Jon Davies effort away, Ashley Williams and Scott Brice also saw sights of the City goal but couldn’t convert.\r\n\r\nJust before the break, Paulton’s goal lived a charmed life as George Miller saw his shot saved, Chris Jones rebounded off the post and Griffin blasted over.\r\n\r\nThen, in stoppage time, only a finger-tip save onto the woodwork from White saved City’s blushes as Davies curled a free-kick at goal.\r\n\r\nHarris read the riot act to his squad during the break and saw Miller, Griffin and Williams all attempt to bring Gloucester back into the contest as the nervous frustration grew around Winterfield Road.\r\n\r\nThe Tigers saw themselves camped in the Rovers half, but a strong defence stood firm and cleared again, and again.\r\n\r\nTom Webb, a veteran of over a dozen FA Cup runs blasted an effort a foot over the bar, and substitute Matt Groves kept trying to force his way through the stubborn defence.\r\n\r\nBut, in the end, the tried and trusted method of Billy Jones’ sumptuous delivery and the lethal finish of Griffin finally unlocked the Somerset side to the immense relief of Harris, his players and the Tigers faithful.\r\n\r\nFrom the jaws of defeat almost came the joys of victory as Adam Mann saw his shot flicked away by Phillips and across a packed six yard box and away.\r\n\r\nIn the end, the Tigers live to fight another day in the hope of repeating the back-to-back First Round sojourns of the previous two seasons.\r\n\r\nPaulton Rovers: K. Phillips, O. Knowles, B. Lacey, T. Seary, S. Brice, B. Barnes (T. Pollard 90+5), M. Bryant, A. Williams, J. Klein-Davies, J. Davies (J. Walker 70), E. Gibbons\r\n\r\nSubs not used: K. Baggs, A. Flint, C. Hinder, J. Jeffries\r\n\r\nGoals: Bryant 19\r\n\r\nGloucester City: P. White, S. Avery, B. Jones, M. Green, M. Williams, T. Webb, L. Hogg, G. Miller (N. Modest 63), C. Griffin, J. Parker (A. Mann 75), C. Jones (M. Groves 46)\r\n\r\nSubs not used: S. Hamilton, A. Connolly, M. Richards, N. Modest, H. Rivers\r\n\r\nGoals: Griffin 85\r\n\r\nAttendance: 327

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