Gloucester City Under 18s progressed in the Preliminary Round of the FA Youth Cup, as they overcame a spirited Bristol Manor Farm side 3-2, writes Kelsey De Maria.
The visitors got the game under way on a pleasant evening at Tuffley, but it was only the Young Tigers who seemed to be playing from the get-go, and it showed as they raced into an early lead.
Cutting outside of his marker on the corner of the box, Josh Watts rifled in a low cross across the face of goal that found it’s way past everyone and into the far corner of the net.
City were quick going forward, springing into rapid counter-attacks whenever they won possession. Cisom Obi burst forward down the wing before coming inside and firing a low strike at goal that was well parried by Rhys Austin.
It was Obi and Watts that were combining well and causing the visitors all sorts of trouble. The latter did well to beat his man before standing it up to the back post but Obi couldn’t quite divert the ball goalwards.
Manor Farm were enjoying a bit more of the ball as the Young Tigers allowed them more time and space in possession. Seamus Brinkman showed good persistence to power his way through but his strike was tame and straight at Winman.
Cam Williams was a bright spark for Neil Mustoe and Kenny Blackburn’s side as he beat two defenders down the right flank before forcing Austin into another good save.
A lengthy break in play followed as Manor Farm captain Aidan Jones challenged for a header and, upon landing, suffered a nasty looking knee injury that saw the need for the stretcher to be carried on.
Almost buoyed by the loss of their skipper, the visitors found an equaliser through Brinkman, as he struck a free kick from 20 yards that looped up and over Winman.
The deadlock didn’t last long though, as the Young Tigers found themselves back in front almost immediately.
Dominik Kent delivered a flat corner from the right and it was met by Noah Smerdon who diverted his header goalbound and past Austin.
After the break the Young Tigers looked to pick up where they left off, as Obi worked his way to the byline before crossing to Williams, but the City number 8 sliced his effort over.
Williams would atone for his miss as he turned creator for the Young Tigers as they doubled their lead.
From a free kick 25 yards out, Williams played a beautifully disguised through ball into the path of Ellis Macserry who smashed the ball home.
However, the visitors were back in it fairly quickly, as Alli played a delightful through ball into Nicholls who prodded the ball home past Winman.
City pushed for the killer blow in what was 10 minutes of time added on at the end of the game as Danny King dragged a shot wide from 18 yards.
There would be no further breakthrough for either side and the Young Tigers progressed, with a home tie against Bishop’s Cleeve the reward in the First Qualifying Round.
Gloucester City Under 18s: Winman, Loveridge, Croft, Smerdon, Lyons, Macserry (capt), King, Williams, Watts, Kent, Obi
Subs: Roberts, Cottrell, Ochiagha, Blythe, Walker
Bristol Manor Farm Under 18s: Austin, Caton, Sutherland, Ben-Carew, Jones (capt), Smith, Walters, Towler, Alli, Nicholls, Brinkman
Subs: Bright, Morgan, Snell
Referee: Martin Fletcher
Star man: Noah Smerdon