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Report: City Under-23s 2-1 Gloucester City

Two second half goals in as many minutes saw City Under-23s book their spot in the semi-finals of the GFA Senior Challenge Cup, with a 2-1 win over Gloucester City.

Gloucester took the lead in the first half through Dejon Noel-Williams, before Sam Bell had a penalty saved by Freddie Lapworth.

Bradley Webb and Jayden Ali struck within moments of each other to turn the game around just before the hour mark.

City now progress into the final four of the competition, and will now face Slimbridge AFC.

In a repeat of last summer’s final, the two sides met under the lights at Hartpury College, with Luke Williams naming a youthful side.

After a few half-chances from Bell, the game’s first clear cut chance led to the opener. From a free kick, Noel-Williams headed beyond Lochlan Robertson.

City went straight up the other end, and had an opportunity to grab an immediate equaliser after Bell was brought down by a Gloucester defender. Bell, himself, took the spot-kick, but saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Lapworth.

In the first half, City would come within inches of an equaliser, but fail to find the back of the net. First, Tom Richards would be denied by Lapworth, before a Bell header hit the post.

And City’s best chance of the opening half came seconds before the break. Marcus Day beat a number of Gloucester defenders, before cutting inside and shooting, but his effort was narrowly wide of the post.

The second half continued in a similar fashion to the first, as City piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, and they almost had one through Bell, who was yet again denied by Lapworth.

But they didn’t have to wait long to be level. A City corner pinballed around the area, before falling to Webb, who smashed in from close range.

Then seconds later, City would be in front. A goal reminiscent of the first, Ali fired beyond Lapworth from inside the area.

Ali would come close to adding his second and a City third with an audacious half-volley that whistled just wide of the Gloucester post.

In the dying embers of the game, Richards hit the post for City, as they almost added a third.

Attention for the Under-23s will now switch back to the Professional Development League, as they welcome Colchester United to Failand on Thursday (March 21st).

City Under-23s: Robertson, Turner-Williams, Webb, Spark (J.Taylor), H.Smith (C), Ali, Day, Z.Smith (Williams), Rees, Richards, Bell. Unused subs: Gould, Sainsbury.

Words: Ryan Payne