Luke Hopper netted his 17th and 18th goals of the season as Gloucester City saw off a resilient Stalybridge Celtic side at Whaddon Road.

Hopper gave his side the lead after bundling home a loose ball inside the six yard box, before adding his second from a near post flick on after Stalybridge had equalised with less than 10 minutes to go.

The brace means that the former Swindon Supermarine striker is just three goals away from equalling Lee Smith’s tally of 21 goals in the 2009/10 season, which is a Gloucester City record at National League North level.

Speaking to after the game, Hopper admitted that it wasn’t the team’s best performance of the season, but getting the win was the main thing.

“It wasn’t a pretty win but the main thing is it was a win nonetheless and we got the three points” he said. “We were a bit relieved when the final whistle went because we rode our luck a couple of times.”

Hopper was a nuisance for the Stalybridge defence from start to finish and was involved in an off the ball incident that saw Celtic captain Matt Hughes shown a straight red card.

“We just sort of latched onto each other and were having a bit of a tussle” Hopper explains.

“It was a bit of handbags really but he’s chucked his elbow up, it’s hit me in the mouth and I’ve started to bleed and obviously the ref has sent him off after the linesman pulled it back.”

With 18 goals to his name this season and just two off his aim for the season, Hopper is more focused on the team getting three points at Boston United in two days.

“Whilst it’s nice to score, the main thing is pushing on and getting another three points on Monday at Boston and if I can get on the scoresheet that’ll be great” Hopper said.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer about it a couple of times and I think most strikers like to aim for 20 goals a season even though I don’t normally like to say it.”

Since joining from Swindon Supermarine halfway through the 2015/16 season, Hopper has featured regularly and last week at Nuneaton he made his 50th appearance for the club.

“I didn’t know until I saw it on Twitter afterwards to be honest, but it’s been a great experience” he said. “The first year was a lot tougher obviously joining midway through the season and we were fighting for our lives a little bit.

“So that was a lot more difficult but this year we’ve come out, we’ve had a great season and I’ve been scoring goals so it’s been very enjoyable.”

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