GLOUCESTER CITY 2 HISTON O
GRITTY not pretty, but Gloucester City are not in the business of earning plaudits for artistic merit – not when they are in dire need of points to climb the Skrill North table.
City showed admirable effort and plenty of graft to battle past relegation rivals Histon, deservedly earning Tim Harris the first win of his second spell as Tigers boss in the process.
A Charlie Griffin tap-in and a fortuitous Adam Mann goal were enough for the Tigers to secure a win against a team who must be their target to overtake in the coming weeks.
As flat as the proverbial Shrove Tuesday pancake for the first half-hour, the game burst into life with an extraordinary piece of end-to-end action.
Lewis Taffe’s sliced shot forced recalled goalkeeper Mike Green into a low save down to his left to start a spell of pressure from which the Stutes should have taken the lead.
From the resulting corner Jay Dowie saw his header cleared off the line by Lewis Hogg, but once the ball was recycled into the box, both Taffe and Adi Yussaff fluffed their lines in front of goal.
Relieved by the reprieve the Tigers did more than be thankful for their luck – they sprinted up the other end and took the lead.
Matt Groves led the charge, sprinting down the right flank, beating his man and firing a low cross that Griffin gleefully slammed into the net from close range.
Connor Waldon came close to doubling the advantage with a fizzing low drive moments later, only for a fine Barney McLaughlin save to deny the Swindon Town youngster.
While at the other end Histon’s Grant Roberts headed over from a promising position after a fine cross from Nathan Hicks.
Jack Harris performed a similar trick early in the second half, while Griffin should have done better with a header from a delicious Lewis Hogg free-kick, but he hit the post when he should have scored.
The woodwork got a further test at the midpoint of the half as first Waldon raced clear, beat the defence and goalkeeper but struck the upright and bounced clear.
The rebound fell to the onrushing Groves who blasted a shot against the crossbar and while City rued their luck, Histon almost deliver a sucker-punch with Yussaf firing inches wide.
Mills then saw red for an ugly late challenge on Groves, referee Marvyn Amphlett deciding to show the Histon left-back a second yellow card to the Histon left-back.
City made the extra man pay in the final 10 minutes as Mann fired a hopeful shot at goal, which McLaughlin allowed to slip under his body and into the net.
Groves would make it four canons off the woodwork before the game was out, but for once the Tigers were not left to rue fine margins.
Without doubt there will be tougher assignments between now and the end of the season but the Tigers and new boss Harris will be glad they have taken a small step towards survival.
Gloucester City: MJ Green; MF Green, M Coupe, J Harris, M Giglio; M Groves, D Mullings, L Hogg, A Mann (J Goddard 90); C Griffin, C Waldon (J Parker 84).
Subs not used: S Moore, N Jarvis , M Rose.
Histon: B McLaughlin, H O’Malley, O Beckles, P Grant, Z Mills; L Taffe (M Clunan 83), J Dowie, G Roberts (N Freeman (77), C Day (M Built 65); N Hicks, A Yussaf.
Subs not used: E Libertucci, Salim Relizani.
Referee: M Amphlett (Worcester)