The Harriers overcame an awful playing surface at Cheltenhams Whaddon Rd ground today when they beat tenants Gloucester City 2-1 with a fourth goal in four games for Joe Ironside and a first goal for Daniel Nti since his move to Aggborough in early March. The three points earned keeps up the pressure on a quickly failing AFC Fylde who lost 2-1 at Stalybridge meaning that they have only collected four [points from a possible twelve since the undeserved draw against us a few weeks ago. We travel to Stalybridge on Tuesday evening so we'll be hoping for a better result than the enemy there.
Todays game against a Gloucester side that have been putting results together lately was played in glorious warm sunshine and on a pitch well suited to the weather we could have been beside the sea at Weston. As is our wont we named a team with some un-expected absences when just a hour before the game it was announced that Elton N'Gwatala and Arthur Gnahoua were both out injured and following a further inquiry by myself that Liam Truslove was also out injured and has been since before the Halifax game. Without the first two mentioned we played Darryl Knights and Tryell Waite in their place instead.
Knights got us underway kicking towards us away fans and from the off we seem to be making light work of the bobbly, sandy and dry pitch. In the opening ten minute period we could have already gone a couple of goals up if it hadn't been for the deceptive surface that kept giving a spin to the ball. Both Ironside and Jordan Tunnicliffe saw headers go over the bar when it would have been easier to score and then Waite flicked a cross just wide of the former Harriers keeper Jas Singhs goal.
It wasn't long before we got it right and the opening goal went in. We'd been given a corner, taken by James McQuilkin, that came floating into the area towards a melee of players who then mis-kicked, mis-headed and mis-everything else until Joe Ironside got his head to the ball on the right side post to bundle it home for his goal.
We, well Jack Deaman, almost made it two soon after when he almost turned the ball into his own net from a Zaine Francis-Angol cross but then we fell for the sucker punch when we allowed City too much space to pull a goal back. It was a belter of a goal though.
Up until then City had done very little apart from trying to catch us but some smart passing (not by us) saw our defenders backing off too much and allowing Ed Williams to pace himself just right before letting fly with a shot that looped up then dipped into the net bet=yond the reach of Sam Hornby.
With the impetus now with City they came into the game more and tried to stop us playing. A lot of niggly fouling was going on both both teams but the over fussy referee didn't stamp it out. He just booked Ryan Croasdale when the ball hit his hand as he was heading it away in the safety of the centre circle.
We thought we had scored our second goal when Daniel Nti found Ironside on the edge of the area. The new boys half volley thundered goalwards and the side netting shook as the Harriers fans rose as one for the goal but sadly it had gone just the wrong side of the post and out.
With seconds of the half remaining City came close to taking the lead when a speculative shot from Joe Hanks caught Hornby wrong footed and he quickly had to flip the ball backwards over the bar. The resulting corner came to nothing.