Gloucester City 2-0 Stockport County
It is a scoreline that seems scarcely believable for Gloucester City fans of a certain vintage, but a dominating 2-0 victory against Stockport County was thoroughly deserved.
Goals either side of half-time from Adam Mann and Lewis Hogg saw Tim Harris continue his 100% winning record as Gloucester City manager as the Tigers leapfrogged out of the Skrill North relegation places.
The Hatters had their chances but an incredible close range miss from Rhys Oates and a brilliant lunging save from Mike Green denying Mark Battersby were the only real opportunities County could conjure.
Followed by a sizable contingent from Manchester, Stockport had the first notable effort on goal, a rather tame strike from Nicky Platt.
But, it was Harris’ resurgent Tigers who claimed the better of the opening exchanges with clear possession of the ball.
After a brilliant passing move, the ball found its way to Nat Jarvis on the left who smashed his effort straight at Ian Ormson who palmed away for a corner.
The resulting corner, a sensational swinging ball from debutant Billy Jones, found the head of fellow newcomer Ruairidh Winters who couldn’t keep his leaping header down.
Gaps began to appear in the Gloucester City defence that Stockport pounced on with Oates playing a sumptuous ball through to Battersby with Green producing a stunning save to push the ball just wide; save of the season stuff.
City were rewarded for their positive start on 31 minutes; Hogg’s brilliant free-kick into the area found Matt Groves who blasted at Ormson, and rebounded into the path of Mann to tap home for the lead.
Only a stunning miss from Oates saved the Tigers blushes seconds after the goal with the striker somehow skewing his effort onto the post when it was easier to score.
Jarvis had proved to be a thorn in the side of the Hatters and after a delicate piece of skill leaving the defender for dead, his shot across goal came inches from hitting Connor Waldon.
The visitors began the second half in the ascendency and had a glaring opportunity only for Battersby to mid-judge a lob over Mike Green that lofted onto the top of the net.
This was followed by Phil Jevons delicately chipping from 20 yards out but Green plucked the ball out of the air with ease.
However from then it was all Gloucester City who took full control of the contest and came very close with Darren Mullings’ glancing header fizzing just wide.
Joe Parker, who replaced the injured Nat Jarvis, started terrorising the Stockport defence and after dancing past three players the youngster unleashed a strike that was unluckily deflected into Ormson’s arms.
The contest was put out of reach soon after with Griffin chasing a loose ball into the corner and delivering a stunning ball to the back post where Hogg emphatically finished doubling the lead.
The Tigers kept on coming and it could’ve been three with Mann unmarked at the back post smashing wide from close range.
But, Harris’ troops shut out their more esteemed visitors to register one of the most important victories of the season.
Gloucester City: M. Green, M. Green, B. Jones, M. Coupe, R. Winters, C. Waldon (Griffin 45), L. Hogg, D. Mullings, A. Mann, N. Jarvis (Parker 54), M. Groves (Goddard 72)
Subs not used: M. Giglio, M. Rose
Goals: Mann 31, Hogg 74
Stockport County: I. Ormson, J. Fagbola, S.Duxbury, J. Milligan (Dennis 79), M. Lees, S. O’Halloran, N. Platt, M. Battersby, R. Oates (Howard 79), P. Jevons, R. Lofthouse (Lewis 45)
Subs not used: T. Moses, K. Charnock