FA Cup Third Qualifying Round: Yate Town 2 Gloucester City 2
DARREN EDWARDS broke Yate’s hearts on his return to Lodge Road as his injury-time penalty earned Gloucester a replay in a topsy-turvy FA Cup tie at Lodge Road.
Jake Cox’s spectacular strike 12 minutes from time looked like sending the Bluebells through but striker Edwards, who came on as a second-half substitute, stroked home from the spot after another ex-Yate star Matt Groves was brought down in the box.
It was a harsh blow for Yate, who had led twice against a side playing two divisions higher after Mike Bryant struck two minutes before the break with Darren Mullings heading Gloucester level in the 58th minute.
Yate will now return to Whaddon Road, the scene of the biggest day in the club’s history when they played Cheltenham Town in the first round last year, for a second attempt at upsetting Gloucester at their temporary home on Wednesday.
There was a sense of de ja vu for Yate from Newport’s late equaliser in their 3-3 fourth round qualifying draw last year, but they went onto knock out the then-Conference leaders and they will take some heart from that achievement.
The two former Yate players in the Gloucester starting line-up were involved as they created the first clear-cut chance on five minutes with Groves laying the ball off for Scott Wilson to thread a ball through to Will Morford, whose shot was well saved low down by Martin Horsell diving to his left.
With his first chance to run with the ball, Yate winger Ross Staley flew past full back Sam Rawlings and sent in an inviting cross to the near post, but Lewis Haldane’s volley went right across the goalmouth and out for a throw-in.
Yate’s defence had to be on their mettle to keep Gloucester out and Tom Seery did well to block a shot by Wilson after the striker cut in dangerously onto his right foot before Cox made a superb diving challenge to keep out an effort by Lewis Hogg as he closed in on goal.
When Wilson did find enough space to get a clean shot away in the box, his tame effort was saved comfortably by Horsell.
Yate finished the half strongly and took the lead when Joe Chandler’s long free kick was only cleared as far as Bryant on the edge of the box and the skipper’s left-footed strike beat goalkeeper Mike Green to find the net.
However, Gloucester equalised within 13 minutes of the second-half when Mullings nipped in between Seery and Horsell to glance in Tyler Weir’s cross.
Yate went back in front when, once again Gloucester were unable to clear their lines properly from a free kick, and Cox unleashed a stunning drive into the top corner of the net from 25 yards.
They were given a scare with six minutes left when Horsell, unhappy at the close proximity of Morford as he went to take a goal kick out of hand, dropped the ball, but the striker was unable to capitalise as he hit his shot straight against him.
Mullings’ header from a Groves cross was tipped away by Horsell as Gloucester pressed for the equaliser and they were given the perfect chance to set up a replay two minutes into injury time.
Groves was clipped down by Bryant as he burst into the box and from the resulting penalty Edwards calmly sent Horsell the wrong way.
Gloucester could even have won the game at the death but Joe Parker headed wide with just Horsell to beat after chasing down Green’s long goal kick.
Yate Town: Horsell, Cox, Harrison, Chandler, Seery, Abraham, Harmer (Tippins, 90), Bryant (c), Hulbert (Rogers, 87), Haldane, Staley. Subs not used: Meaker, Jackson, Felix, Lane, Lenihan.
Gloucester City: Green, Rawlings, Weir, Coupe, Harris, Webb, Hogg (Edwards, 51), Mullins, Morford, Wilson (Parker, 64), Groves. Subs not used: Phillips, Turl, Liddiard, Green, Mustoe.
Ref: Mr S Plane.
Gazette star man: Jake Cox – Defended manfully and scored a great goal.
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