'Dutch' courage aplenty as City's new boys hit the ground running
A THUNDERING start from Gloucester City's new boys set the Tigers up for a 5-1 thrashing of Bishop's Stortford on a rain-soaked evening at Whaddon Road.
Goals on their City debuts from Bristol Rovers loan boys Mitch Harding and Jordan Goddard, plus a storming header from the returning Chris Holland, put City three goals up within eight minutes.
With the contest almost over so early, the Tigers pressed and were rewarded with another Holland header just before half-time, and a final headed goal from Tom Hamblin.
The turgid visitors' consolation came thanks to a second-half penalty from Reneil Sappleton.
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The Tigers pounced out of the blocks and in little under a minute Lewis Hogg played a sumptuous ball to 18-year-old Harding, who slammed home the ball home.
Hogg set up Holland's first goal as well, whipping in a corner for the returning defender – known as 'Dutch' to his team-mates – to thump a header home.
However the Bishops may have halved that if Freddie Ladapo had not squandered a fantastic chance when he clipped the ball past the far post with goalkeeper Mike Green beaten.
Then, to compound even more misery on the Woodside Park outfit, young Goddard picked the ball up 40 yards out, rushed forward and shot stunningly into the top right-hand corner to send the Tigers into a 3-0 lead.
City could have added a fourth on 20 minutes when the ball found Aysa Corrick unmarked at the back post after great work from Steve Davies, but the winger's shot was saved by Jorg Stadelmann.
The irresistible first half performance concluded with a fourth goal as Hogg whipped in a corner from the right hand side and Holland was unmarked at the back post to head home.
Bishops Stortford came out for the second half with a point to prove, but Sappleton failed to convert numerous chances throughout the half, including a one-on-one that Green saved.
City were striking back though and a wonderful piece of interplay between Harding and full-back Mike Green saw the defender shoot just wide.
The only joy the visitors had in a poor performance occurred when Harding brought down a Blues player in the box for a penalty, which Sappleton scored.
But the Tigers had the last laugh, as Hogg crossed for Holland at the back post again and he found Hamblin who cheekily headed home goal number five.
The five-star performance came at a perfect time for the Tigers as they are set to face Conference South side Eastleigh, who lost 6-1 at Farnborough midweek, in the FA Cup on Sunday – a perfect tonic.
Gloucester City: M. Green, M. Green, C. Holland, M. Coupe, T. Hamblin, T. Webb (Liddiard 80) , L. Hogg, J. Goddard, S. Davies (Parker 88), M. Harding, A. Corrick (Harris 60).
Subs not used: S. Rawlings, A. Mann.
Bishops Stortford: J. Stadelmann, A. Sinclair-Furlonge, J. Herd, R. Prestedge (Webb 53), P. Anderson, S. Francis, M. Johnson, J. Wallér- Lassen, R. Sappleton, S. Lawley, F. Ladapo (Brayley 65).
Subs not used: M. Redgrave, A. Abdullahi, H. Milton.