Lewis Bainbridge scored two and bagged an assist as Gloucester City U18s proved they are still the dominant force in U18s football in the county, beating a very game 10-man Slimbridge U18s side 5-2.
Bainbridge, who also plays for Brimscombe & Thrupp Reserves in the Hellenic League Division Two West broke the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes when he stepped up to convert from the spot after winning a penalty himself.
The game needed the goal and from there it opened up into a better contest, with sides looking capable of causing the other problems.
Two goals in a five minute period saw the game go from 0-1 to 1-2 as James Unwin and Ryan Sarson exchanged goals. Unwin doubled City’s lead after nodding home from a recycled corner that was flicked on.
The goal infuriated Slimbridge who were expecting an offside flag to go up as the ball was flicked on but it never came and the young man who has found himself in and around the first team under Chris Todd nodded the ball home.
Slimbridge broke down the other end and after good work from Jaden Maddock and Taylor Buckland down the right, the latter pulled the ball back for Sarson to step onto and smash the Swans back into the game.
Then, the game changed on its head within the last couple of minutes of the first half. First, Adam Bloomfield was issued a straight red card after a coming together from a goal kick, with ref Oliver Spender signaling a kick out.
Gloucester City hit Slimbridge with a sucker punch on the break when Bainbridge scored his second after the Swans back line failed to clear their lines.
Slimbridge came out for the second half like a house on fire and nearly got into the game straight away but City stopper Alex Sukosd kept them at bay.
The Swans brought on Fintan Small, who added a bit of balance to the side and Slimbridge were left raging after being denied what looked like a blatant penalty from the stands. Small burst through and was appeared to be tripped in the area but Spender waved away the calls.
However the ball was in the back of the next within seconds when Taylor Buckland rose highest to head in a cross from the right, leaving Sukosd no chance in goal.
As Slimbridge went in search of an equaliser, City punished them once more. After Bainbridge was slipped in down the right on the counter, he cut back for full back Joe Haswell to roll the ball past Lewis Adams to kill the game.
Substitute Barry Moss added a 5th for Gloucester City with just seconds left of normal time to seal the deal and see the Young Tigers into the 4th Round of the Midland Floodlit Youth League Cup.
There were some great performances on both sides, with Miles Ferguson and Lewis Bainbridge getting the plaudits for City, with Morgan Davies and Finlay Byrnes putting in incredible shifts for Slimbridge amongst others.
A great game for the neutral and a game that shows the future is bright for football in Gloucestershire.
Both sides return to league action on Thursday 13th December with Slimbridge hosting Tuffley Rovers at Thornhill Park whilst Gloucester City travel to Stratford Town.
Slimbridge U18s: Adams, Maddock, Waddington, Brown, Byrnes, Callinan, Buckland, Davies, Bloomfield, Ahmed, Sarson
Subs: Small, Walker, Townsend, Mbika, Harper
Gloucester City U18s: Sukosd, Haswell, Barber, Ferguson, Stubbs, Unwin, Bainbridge, Blythe, Rees, Johnstone, Obi
Subs: Berry, Martin, Moss, Keivani
Severn Sport Man Of The Match – Lewis Bainbridge (Gloucester City U18s)
You will be able to listen to highlights of the game later in the week as well as on the Severn Sport Night In on Friday Night. Check SevernSport.co.uk for further details.