Gloucester City: Tigers lick wounds after Halifax mauling
A FIVE-STAR display from promotion candidates FC Halifax Town condemned Gloucester City to their fifth defeat of a rough start to the season.
A four-goal haul from striker Lee Gregory and a Jon Worthington opener 27 seconds in inflicted the Tigers worst ever Conference loss and their worst defeat since 2004.
Will Morford had a goal ruled out for offside at 2-0, and Tom Webb hit the woodwork from a looping cross, but overall it was a poor display from David Mehew's men.
With only 27 seconds gone, the in-form Shaymen took the lead after a defensive lapse from Tom Hamblin was chased down by Jason St Juste who placed the ball into Worthington's path to slot home from ten yards.
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The early woes that have plagued recent games for City continued once more when a hopeful ball from goalkeeper Matt Glennon saw winger Chris Worsley place a great dinked ball over the Tigers' backline for Gregory to ghost in to bundle the ball into the net with the two Mike Green's closing.
City continued to soak up the Yorkshire side's pressure, with goalkeeper Green cleaning up mostly from stray Halifax balls into the box.
The Tigers were then almost rewarded for their defensive efforts when good interplay between Morford and Darren Edwards saw the ball hit the back of the net, only for the linesman's flag to rule it out for a marginal, but correct, offside decision.
Goalkeeper Green came to the rescue again after fantastic play from the two Halifax forwards producing a top save from close range. The ball was then returned in soon after and found Gregory with his back to goal on the left hand side, who deliciously chipped the ball up and half volleyed into the top corner.
The Tigers almost clawed one back before half-time when Tom Webb's searching cross bewildered Glennon and struck the crossbar.
However from the resulting attack a ruthless first-half display from the Shaymen was rounded off when a free kick whipped in from Paul Marshall found Gregory at the back post who tapped in to an empty net to complete his hat-trick.
The Tigers came out for the second half in much better shape and threatened the Yorkshiremen after a good run and shot from defender Green producing a decent save from Glennon.
The Shaymen extended their lead on 67 minutes after the mercurial Gregory was played through over the top and clinically chipped the ball over the goalkeeper and finished with aplomb.
With 20 minutes remaining the Tigers were forced down to ten men after Darren Mullings appeared to injure his shoulder in a challenge.
Both sides attacked without much conviction for the rest of the contest, but the opening ten minutes cost the Tigers dear and truthfully they were never at the races.
The club will hope to massively improve next weekend at home to Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central side Thatcham Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round.
FC Halifax Town: M. Glennon, R. Toulson, J. St Juste (McManus 45) , L. Hogan, J. Jarrett (Needham 75), D. Lowe, C. Worsley (Hackney 60), P. Marshall, D. Johnson, L. Gregory, J. Worthington Subs not used: P. Senior, P. Bolland
Gloucester City: MF. Green, MJ. Green, J. Harris, M. Coupe, T. Hamblin, S. Rawlings (J Tillson 45), M. Liddiard (A Corrick 45), D. Mullings, D. Edwards, W. Morford, G. Washbourne (T Webb 35). Subs not used: B. Hunt