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City lift GFA Cup in six-goal thriller

City lifted the Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup with a 4-2 victory over plucky Cirencester Town at Oaklands Park.

Luke Williams’ side trailed early on, before Jonny Smith and Opi Edwards inspired a fightback to see the Robins lead 3-1 at the break.

There was another scare after half-time, before Aaron Parsons’ header with 19 minutes to go made sure the trophy would be returning to Ashton Gate.

TOPSY-TURVY FIRST HALF

City started brightly as Jake Andrews went close twice in the opening exchanges.

But on eight minutes the defence switched off, allowing Felipe Barcelos to cross for Jack Watts, who finished smartly at the far post.

Cirencester keeper Mateusz Wieczorek produced a wonder save to deny Andrews on 20 minutes after good work from Kel Akpobire.

However, the same keeper was powerless to stop Smith from equalising soon after as the former Wrexham winger cut in from the left and fired high into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

Smith was again involved as City took the lead on 38 minutes. This time he was the provider, crossing from the left for Edwards to bundle home at the back post.

The same combination brought about the third goal on the stroke of half-time, albeit with Andrews thrown into the mix. Smith’s cross should have been buried by Chippenham Town loanee Andrews, who somehow lifted his shot against the bar from a yard out, but Edwards was on the spot to scramble in the rebound.

DEVELOPMENT SIDE EDGE TO VICTORY

City were slow to get going after half-time and were punished when Watts was afforded time and space in the box to reduce the deficit with a low shot that crept in off the far post.

Parsons made sure there would no need for extra time, however, as he rose well to powerfully head in George Dowling’s corner on 71 minutes and effectively kill the game as a contest.

Skipper Dowling was the man with his hands on the trophy at the final whistle, as City claimed the 2016/17 crown, after the final was held over from the back end of last season.

City Under-23s: Sesay, Pring (Turner-Williams 90), Nurse, Dowling, Parsons, H.Smith (Baldwin 79), Edwards, Richards, Akpobire, Andrews (Trialist 51), J.Smith.

Opi Edwards bundles in to put City 3-1 up in the final