Gloucester City: Edwards, Morford keep Tigers' Cup dream alive
Gloucester City 2
Thatcham Town 1
PROGRESS in the FA Cup was all that mattered to Gloucester City on Saturday and while it duly arrived, this was a game that will not last long in the memory, writes James Young.
But when you are trying to banish a quarter-century old tale of woe in the FA Cup, artistic impression can take a back seat.
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If the Tigers do battle their way through to the competition proper for the first time since 1989, few will look back on their seasonal bow with any relish.
So let the record show that goals from Darren Edwards and Will Morford cancelled out a calamitous Mike Green own goal and earned City a place in today's third qualifying round draw, despite Thatcham's efforts.
In fact it was the visitors from Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central who threatened first after a reasonably bright opening by the Tigers had failed to deliver a clear-cut chance.
Jack Coventry's cross from the left was only half cleared by defender Mike Green and Charlie Hill rifled a shot against the bar from 12 yards.
It took less than a minute for Hill to be punished for his miss as Edwards tucked home from the spot after Morford's persistence led to a rash challenge from Kieran Thorne.
The goal should have settled any City nerves and for a time it looked like doing so, until with four minutes to go before the break, a defensive mix-up gifted the visitors a leveller.
Coventry worked some space on the left but his cross looked to be nothing more than a speculative effort.
However, left-back Green and Matt Coupe got their wires crossed in trying to clear and the former poked out a foot and sent the ball past his goalkeeper and into the net.
Frustrated by what he had seen from a raised vantage point in the Whaddon Road stands, boss Dave Mehew moved to the dugout after delivering his half-time appraisal. And whatever was said appeared to reap instant dividend as City re-established their lead after just three minutes of the second period.
Ben Hunt was sent free down the right and sent a tempting ball towards the on-rushing Jack Harris at the near post.
Harris' effort was blocked by a desperate defender but Morford was first to react and he prodded home from close range.
City almost let their opponents in for another gift of an equaliser just short of the hour mark.
With a low sun causing havoc to his line of vision, Tom Hamblin stumbled when reaching a long ball and his botched clearance allowed substitute Josh Daniels a clear run on goal.
But with the goal seemingly at his mercy, Daniels' shot was poor and a relieved Mike Green was able to smother.
And this time City were able to shut up shop and in some relative comfort ease through to a place in today's third qualifying round draw.
Gloucester City: MJ Green; J TIllson ( S Rawlings 70), M Coupe, T Hamblin, MF Green; B Hunt (S Davies 63), T Webb, L Hogg, J Harris; W Morford, D Edwards. Subs not used: M Liddiard, N Mustoe
Thatcham Town: J Beames, D Smith, S Flegg, M Bowler, P Taplin; D Asker (D Pletohka 87), M Williams, K Thorne (S Hollamby 61), J Coventry; C Hill; D Seaward (J Daniels 61). Subs not used: R Allaway, W Bratt, C Rackley.
Referee: Dumitru-Ravel Cheosiaua (Worcestershire)
Star man: Tom Webb