By Noah Woodland
Gloucester City earn their first points of the 2023/24 season after a Brandon Smalley header in a 1-1 draw against Bishop's Stortford at the TigerTurf Stadium.
City started the game the much brighter side in what was a physical encounter, pressuring Stortford keeper Jack Giddens into a few early, yet crucial saves inside the first ten minutes.
The Tigers continued to pile on the pressure and in the 21st minute Brandon Smalley got on the end of a dangerous Joe Parker cross, to nod home his first goal, on his first start for the club.
Mostly all of the first half was all City, with Liam Armstrong between the sticks having next to nothing to do, which was a credit to the defence and especially Ben Richards-Everton, who was sweeping up anything that The Blues were throwing at him and his defence.
The second half began and it was more of the same, no real clear cut chances for either side but the hosts were controlling the ball and the tempo of play, not giving Stortford a sniff at goal.
Substitute Harry Williams looked bright after replacing Danny Wright late on, chasing in-behind The Blues defence, creating chances for his fellow attackers to put away, however City just could not seem to find the back of the net.
The visitors piled on the pressure in the last ten minutes of normal time and really out of nowhere, after a tangle inside the City box, Stortford were awarded a penalty. David Oluyemi drilled the ball straight down the middle of Armstrong's goal, levelling the score.
As the game went into extra-time, the momentum of the game flipped, and The Blues were looking far more likely to grab the winner, with the small away following trying to suck the ball into Armstrong's net, but as strong as they have been all game, the City defence stood strong, to end it 1-1.
The next City game is on Tuesday 15th of August against Banbury United, at the TigerTurf Stadium.