Gloucester City 0 Leyton Orient 2
GLOUCESTER City fans know a thing about a hard luck story, well chalk up an FA Cup first round defeat to Leyton Orient to the ever-growing tale of misfortune.
The battling Tigers didn’t deserve what happened to them in the final two minutes of Wednesday night’s Whaddon Road clash – to lose 2-0 was nothing short of a scandal.
They may not have peppered the Orient goal or battered their way in to the lead at any point but for battling spirit alone Dave Mehew’s men deserved at least a replay.
But after Dave Mooney flicked a header past the despairing hand of Mike Green on 87 minutes to give the Londoners the lead City were a spent force.
Dean Cox’s second goal a minute later was unduly harsh as was the taunting celebration in front of the City support, but by then it didn’t really matter.
Having waited 23 years to sample the delights of the first round, City wasted little time imposing themselves on the game, flying out of the blocks at an impressive pace.
Just a minute had passed when Tom Hamblin headed Lewis Hogg’s corner towards goal and Darren Edward’s scuffed shot was desperately cleared by Orient midfielder Jimmy Smith.
Jack Harris was next to test the O’s, cutting out an errant ball on halfway and driving at the heart of the visitors defence, but he dragged a shot wide with Mitch Harding well placed.
City’s superb start almost reaped benefit on 12 minutes as Jordan Goddard skilfully wriggled free in the box and fell under a clumsy challenge but referee Steve Rushton ignored the vehement protests for a penalty.
Orient took their time to get going, but as City tired the professionals began to press.
After being a virtual spectator for 40 minutes, City keeper Mike Green was pressed into action for the first time when Cox wriggled free to send a shot arrowing towards the corner of the net.
Mooney then flicked a header against the frame of the goal after Cox had been allowed to cross from the right, while Green somehow got hands to deflect Mooney’s dipping 35 yard volley round the post.
The late flurry of action in the first half was recreated at the end of the second period too, but not before City held firm against an increasing tide of Orient pressure.
But for all their possession and patience, the League One side had not had a shot on Green’s goal until Dean Cox was again allowed the opportunity to cross and Mooney did the rest.
Worse was to follow right from the kick-off as a clearly-deflated City side conceded another goal straight away.
Skipper Matt Coupe got his feet in a tangle and Cox, Orient’s liveliest player throughout, was a allowed a clear run on goal to stroke home a second.
Green saved again, this time after Mooney was set free as City threw the kitchen sink at getting a deserved goal, but to the great delight of a large and vociferous crowd behind his goal, a cruel third goal didn’t materialise.
Gloucester City: MJ Green, T Hamblin, M Coupe, C Holland; MF Green (J Tillson 88), T Webb, L Hogg, J Goddard (S Davies 60), J Harris; M Harding (W Morford 55), D Edwards. Subs not used: M Liddiard, S Rawlings, A Mann, N Mustoe.
Leyton Orient: R Allsop; M Odubajo (L McSweeney 58), N Clarke, M Baudry, G Sawyer; J Smith (M Rowlands 87), L James, A Griffith, D Cox; R Brunt (K Lisbie (61) , D Mooney. Subs not used: J Jones, B Chorley, M Symes, L Cook.
Referee: S Rushton
Att: 1,381 (163 away)
Star Man: Mike Green (goalkeeper)
To relive the action as it unfolded, click below: