By Kelsey De Maria
Gloucester City manager Tim Harris celebrated his birthday with a very hard-earned point away to Bradford Park Avenue in a game that the home side should have put to bed.
Making his first start since re-joining the Tigers, Femi Orenuga looked lively. Jonté Smith threaded a beautiful ball into his path but Jon Stewart came charging off his line to gather.
Jason St Juste had the hosts’ first sight of goal as he tried a very speculative effort from 25 yards but dragged the shot five yards wide.
Avenue midfielder Luke Dean was lucky to stay on the pitch as he went in dangerously for a header with George Miller but only a yellow card was given.
City then had strong appeals for a penalty kick turned down by referee Turner, after Matt Williams headed back across goal against Simon Ainge but the protests for handball were waved away.
The Tigers continued their good early pressure from a string of corners following miscued efforts from Tom Webb and Matt Williams.
All of Avenue’s play was coming from the right flank through St Juste. The former North Ferriby United man beat two as he cut inside and fired a shot into the side netting.
City had the chance to break the deadlock after Femi Orenuga was brought down in the penalty area by Ainge.
George Miller stepped up to calmly send goalkeeper Jon Stewart the wrong way as he converted his second penalty in as many matches.
The lead didn’t last long though as Avenue had a penalty of their own moments later after a foul by Mike Green and James Walshaw duly converted the spot kick.
City changed their shape at half time, making two changes as they used up their full quota of subs after Chris Knowles replaced Joe Hanks just before the interval.
Avenue’s new signing Connor Hughes was so close to an early breakthrough in the second period but Singh would not be beaten, producing a stunning save to claw it out the top corner.
Luke Dean found himself with time and space 30 yards out but his dipping long range strike could’ve done with some extra gravity as it sailed over.
The Tigers first chance of the second half came courtesy of substitute Mike Symons, playing in a lone striker role. Symons beat the defender before dragging a left foot shot wide.
City were then reduced to ten men following a fairly innocuous challenge from Lewis Hall saw the former Bristol City winger receive his second yellow card.
Avenue had a golden chance for the winning goal as time ticked on. Goalscorer James Walshaw found himself completely unmarked but could only head straight at Singh.
Neither side could find the breakthrough however, as City made the long trip back home with the point their resolute performance deserved.
Bradford Park Avenue: Stewart, Turner (King 88’), Mather, Dean, Priestley, Ainge (capt), St. Juste, Schofield (Chilaka 65’), Walshaw, Potts (Marshall 61’), Hughes
Subs: Burgin, Pursehouse
Gloucester City: Singh, Green (Hamilton 46’), Bowen, Williams (capt), Avery, Miller, Hanks (Knowles 40’), Webb, Orenuga (Symons 46’), Smith, Hall
Subs: Clarke (GK), Liddiard,
Referee: Iain Turner
Star man: Sam Avery (Gloucester)