Gloucester City 4
Gloucester City easily dispatched lowly Droylsden after a superb performance at Whaddon Road, and puts the Tigers in their best league position since 1998, writes Simon Clark.
A solo effort from Steve Davies, headers from Chris Holland and Matt Liddiard and a tap-in from Darren Edwards secured City’s second four goal haul in four days.
The Tigers dominated the contest from start to finish.
As well as the goals; they hit the woodwork on four different occasions and forced breathtaking saves from Droylsden goalkeeper Dale Latham, who was given the man of the match at full-time, a rarity for an opposition player.
City burst out of the blocks and almost took the lead after two minutes.
Davies was played over the top but saw his shot saved by Latham.
However, the goalkeeper parried the ball into the path of Edwards who placed the ball wide of the post.
They then came even closer, but Davies’ lob over Latham into the back of the net was chalked off due to an offside.
David Mehew’s boys kept on coming ruthlessly at the beleaguered Droylsden defence, but after a Danny Andrew ball Tom Hamblin headed wide.
Darren Edwards, looking fit again, pounced on a mistake from Latham but the ball rebounded off the striker a foot wide.
Lewis Hogg then came close but after a great drag back from Andrew, the midfielder blasted the ball over the bar from 10 yards out.
The pressure was piling on once more, and Hamblin came inches from breaking the deadlock, but his header smashed against the crossbar.
Finally, on 34 minutes, the pressure paid off and after darting through the Droylsden defence like a thoroughbred, Davies hurdled the challenge and curled the ball into the back of the net, a great solo effort.
However, the visitors almost clawed back an equaliser with their first chance of the game, but Stefan Cox’s long range chance was excellently saved by Mike Green.
More chances came for City, but desperate defending from the Manchester side and poor finishing seem to blight City’s attempts.
However, they doubled their lead just before the break. A world class ball from Hogg, after he jockeyed the defender, found the head of a leaping Holland who coolly knocked the ball home.
The second half saw pretty much the same story, chance after chance for Mehew’s men.
Only a ridiculous scramble saved Droylsden from conceding a third, Davies had fired his shot against the left post, the ball rebounded to Edwards, who saw his shot hit the same post and then cleared away; desperately unlucky.
The Droylsden goal continued to live a charmed life after Adam Mann’s sumptuous shot from 25 yards struck the crossbar; the fourth time in the contest the woodwork had been hit.
Latham had to come to the Bloods rescue yet again as Hogg was played in by Davies but a superb fingertip stop by the keeper kept the score at two.
The 77th minute saw City finally bag a third. Tom Webb, who had an excellent game in midfield, crossed a delicious ball to Edwards who, with business-like aplomb, tapped home.
The introduction of Joe Parker sparked another set of chances, but the 18-year-old, who has grown into his role brilliantly in recent games, was denied by sublime stops from Latham.
However, it was time for City’s other young gun, Matt Liddiard, to score his first ever goal in a Tigers shirt to make it four. A typically swerving corner from Andrew found the midfielder’s head and finished City’s rout.
Gloucester City: M. Green, M. Green, D. Andrew, T. Hamblin, C. Holland (Liddiard 53), T. Webb, L. Hogg (Mustoe 87), J. Harris, D. Edwards, S. Davies (Parker 78), A. Mann
Subs not used: D. Mehew
Goals: Davies 34, Holland 45, Edwards 77, Liddiard 87
Droylsden: D. Latham, S. Miniham, S. Holden, L. Chambers, A. Langford, J. Derbyshire, L. Watson, C. Logan (Ward 65) , J. O’Neill (Lattie 75), J. Grant, S. Cox (Sealey 83)
Subs not used: M. Berkeley, R. Liddle
Star Man: Lewis Hogg; a performance of the highest quality.