Whitchurch Utd 0 – Gloucester City AFC 2

This was perhaps the biggest game Whitchurch United have played; never before have they reached this stage in the prestigious FA Cup with playing at Wembley being the dream of every footballer – and not a few fans either! The players emerged onto the sunny pitch to be greeted by Town Mayor and Mayoress Barry and Sandra Jackman, and a good crowd had turned out to cheer their teams.

An early scare for the Jam Boys

Evenly matched
The game opened cautiously and both teams seemed evenly matched but after just 8 minutes an attack by the visitors saw the ball skim off the crossbar. The pressure was on, and just five minutes later a dubious penalty was awarded, as ‘Church keeper Hindmarsh snatched the ball from the feet of the Tiger’s striker.
The roar from the ground rang out as the shot was saved, and the home side immediately went on the counter-attack but were shut down by the much more physical Gloucester squad. Both teams settled into a hard battle as they matched each other move for move and it was not long before signs of frustration were appearing in the play with the visitors now starting to make mistakes.
However, the stalemate continued and it really was anyone’s game, leading into a 0-0 scoreline as the referee blew his half-time whistle.

Words must have been said…
As the teams appeared after the break Gloucester needed to do something or this was heading towards a goalless draw. Words must have been said in the dressing room as they came out looking the stronger, but only just.

Just three minutes into the half, some sub-standard marking saw the full Whitchurch team rushing back to defend, but the damage was done and the visitors snatched the lead. This was a poor period for the home side as just four minutes later the second went in. The much jeered Morford, who had gained a reputation through the game for diving, found space to dummy past the Whitchurch back markers and slot the ball cleanly home.
It could have become a rout, but the character of the young Whitchurch side held, with Brett Denham continuing to cause problems for the Gloucester defence. Both teams were starting to rely on the quick break, but neither were quite fast enough with a number of players succumbing to cramp.

Gloucester City under pressure from a free kick.

With just five minutes to go a sustained effort by the ‘Church had all the opposition packing the box, but the ball failed to reach the net.
The score does not do justice to the game. Both teams were evenly matched, perhaps Gloucester had the slight edge in the secong half, but the result could have gone either way.
The refereeing could have been better but overall the questionable decisions balanced themselves out. Whitchurch played above themselves, but Gloucester City were, it has to be said, a disappointment.

Next Round…
The Tigers go into the draw for the next round on Monday, but from this showing they will be lucky to progress much further. The coachload of Gloucester fans may be happy with the win, but there will be questions over the performance.

Whitchurch should be very proud that they reached this far in the competition and they now focus on the Wessex League.

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