Shortwood United 0 – 3 Gloucester City (Groves 4, Wilson 48, Parker 76)\r\n\r\nGoals from Matt Groves, Scott Wilson and Joe Parker helped Gloucester City exorcise an old demon.\r\n\r\nIn the first game between the two sides since City were famously and soundly beaten by Shortwood in the FA Cup, the Tigers looked confident and full of promise for the season ahead.\r\n\r\nIn an entertaining encounter at Meadowbank both sides played neat passing football at times, before a moment of madness ten minutes before the end.\r\n\r\nCity took an early lead, with Jamie Edge creating space in midfield and playing in Tom Webb. Webb, the only remaining City player on the pitch from Gloucester’s famous FA Cup mauling at the hands of Shortwood, rushed into the box and slotted the ball across to Matt Groves. Groves then slid the ball past Tom King in the Shortwood goal.\r\n\r\nThe goal buoyed City, and they began to knock the ball neatly around midfield, with Edge and Webb showing energy and composure, allowing Groves and Scott Wilson on the wings to run free.\r\n\r\nBut Shortwood were quick on the break, with keeper Mike Green forced into a point blank save on 17 minutes before Tyler Weir blocked Ross Langworthy’s follow-up effort with his back.\r\n\r\nA strong run from Groves saw him nip into the box on 22 minutes, only for his pass to Darren Edwards to get stuck under the City striker’s feet. Edwards scuffed another chance at the back post minutes later, his glancing header off a Weir cross only getting as far as King’s gloves.\r\n\r\nGroves rifled another shot away at King on 32 minutes, before linking up with Edwards for a neat bit of passing to Darren Mullings. The returning Mullings however, could not find a way past Sam Avery as City were made to work hard for a chance of another goal.\r\n\r\nDuncan Culley came nearest for the home side, firing the ball over the post on 39 minutes, before keeper Green was forced into a full stretch save.\r\n\r\nCity doubled their lead quickly after the break, with Groves playing in Wilson for the second goal of the evening. But far from rolling over and accepting defeat, Shortwood fought back with substitute Joe Tustain shooting just over the bar on 57 minutes.\r\n\r\nWilson once again showed energy for City, surging forward for another shot towards King on the hour mark.\r\n\r\nWith 15 minutes left on the clock Joe Parker, on for Scott Wilson, collected a long pass from right back Mike Green. The young striker took on two defenders before dinking the ball over the advancing King for a classy third City goal.\r\n\r\nWhile the first 80 minutes of the game saw enjoyable football played by both sides the last ten saw elements of chaos, fraying tempers and a loss of composure. It all started with an off the ball incident between Mark Pritchett and Darren Edwards and a brief melee involving various members of both squads resulted in both players being subbed.\r\n\r\nWhat remained of the game was played out with a noticeable lack of composure from both sides, with neither able to make further headway,\r\n\r\nShortwood United: T King, C Brown, M Bennett (A Mace 63), J Baldwin, S Avery, M Pritchett, R Langworthy (J Tustain 46) J Parrott, D Culley, P Macklin, T Haddock. Subs: N Hancock, J Tustain, A Mace, A Sykes\r\n\r\nGloucester City: M J Green, M F Green, T Weir, M Coupe, J Harris, T Webb, D Mullings (L Hogg 46) J Edge, D Edwards (S Wilson 82), S Wilson (J Parker 68), M Groves (S Turl 68). Sub not used: N Mustoe\r\n\r\nStar man: Matt Groves

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