Gloucester City 1-0 FCUM
Saturday 8 August 2015
National League North
The Reds showed no sign of nerves as they made their Vanarama Conference League North debut against the Tigers, who finished 14th last season. United proved they will not be overawed by the step up the league pyramid but they must adapt quickly to teams who sneak a lead and then seek to kill off the game.
Obi Anoruo’s goal moments before halftime was the difference between the two teams but it could have been worse for the Reds as goalkeeper Dave Carnell saved a penalty he had conceded.
The game was evenly matched throughout and United had a couple of chances to break the deadlock, both of which fell to Rory Fallon. The lively midfielder didn’t have his shooting boots on though as he fired one effort over the bar, before slicing a difficult volley wide.
The Reds would be left to rue those missed chances as Anoruo, who had already got in behind the defence once, did so again moments before the interval and this time he converted. The striker rifled a shot across the goal and into the far corner, giving Carnell no chance.
Into the second half and any hopes of a fightback were nearly dashed when Carnell upended Anoruo in the box. The referee awarded a penalty but Carnell was relieved to be given the opportunity to redeem himself. And that’s exactly what he did – saving Billy Jones’s spot kick by saving high to his right.
Spurred on by Carnell’s heroics United threw everything at the Tigers in the closing stages. The result was two goalmouth scrambles but the hosts survived.
Then, when it looked as if Gloucester would cling on, Cooke got the ball in the net in the 96th minute, seemingly to rescue a point. Jaz Singh made a mistake from a goal kick and the ball was played into Cooke who slotted home.
However, United’s celebrations were over within seconds as the goal was ruled out for offside, much to the disappointment of the 700 or so travelling Red Army.