Adam Bloomfield’s second half strike was enough for Tuffley Rovers Reserves to edge out Cheltenham Civil Service 1-0 in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League.
With the suspension of the Southern and Hellenic Leagues for the next few weeks, all eyes were on the County League and GNSL and in our featured game at Glevum Park it was a game of two halves.
The first half started with limited chances for either side, with Tuffley striker Niall Priday hitting the post inside the first 10 minutes. The forward showed great agility to turn his man on the left side of the box, before seeing his effort crash off the far post.
From there the game became a bit of a slog for both sides, with chances coming at a premium. But with 10 minutes before the break, Cheltenham Civil Service had their best chance of the half.
Forward Dan Wills took aim from the edge of the box, but his strike was well saved by keeper Kane Hyett.
Both sides came out for the second half hoping to break the deadlock and it was the hosts who took the lead within five minutes of the restart.
Bloomfield, who was playing deeper than usual, picked the ball up 25 yards out before sending his effort towards goal. Civil Service keeper Steve Benbow will be disappointed not to have kept the shot out though, after getting down to his right and getting a strong hand to the ball.
Following the goal, Civil Service grew into the half and began to take control. They had a flurry of chances before and after the hour mark, with a header cleared off the line and midfielder Neil Wheeler curling an effort off the foot of the Tuffley post.
The game became end-to-end with chances for both sides. Firstly, Brett James rifled a strike into the side netting from the right side of the box, then Civil Service forward Gareth Jones saw his volley deflected over after a smart turn.
Two chances and saves by Kane Hyett in as many minutes kept the hosts in front, Wills curled a free kick in which Hyett got down low to in order to beat the shot away. Then after the ball was recycled, Wills was found in the box, but a heavy touch saw Hyett smother the shot. The rebound was then blocked by Harry Clapton and Tuffley stayed in front.
The impressive James Sunley had a strike from the edge of the box saved by Benbow, before Clapton curled just over. Bloomfield completed a hattrick of long range efforts for Rovers, but Benbow did well to fingertip the ball over the bar.
As Civil Service pressed in the final stages, you sensed there would be one final chance…and there was! After Luke Troke got caught in possession, the ball was played into defender James Hall – who could only send his effort high and wide.
Tuffley Rovers Reserves move up one place to 12th in the Division One table in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, whilst Cheltenham Civil Service drop to 5th after this weekend’s results.
Elsewhere in the GNSL, all of the top four won their fixtures and all scored 3 goals along the way. English Bicknor and Chalford occupy 1st and 2nd respectively and won their fixtures 3-0, against Taverners and Upton St Leonards.
Harrow Hill and Brockworth Albion are just behind after their 3-1 wins, over Bredon and Berkeley Town respectively.
In the other two fixtures to survive in Division One, Charlton Rovers and Cam Bulldogs played out a 0-0 draw – whilst Longlevens Reserves beat Leonard Stanley 5-2, thanks to a hattrick from Phil Blackburn.
In Division Two, leaders Andoversford moved 11 points clear with a 5-3 win over a spirited Abbeymead Rovers side, whilst there were wins for Winchcombe Town, Falcons, Broadwell Amateurs Reserves and Stonehouse Town Reserves.