Paulton Rovers 2 
Bishop’s Cleeve 4

Bishop’s Cleeve arrived at Winterfield having played out low scoring draws in their last three matches. Rovers were hoping to continue the fine form shown at Westbury last week.

Rovers it was who took the early initiative and David O’Hare cleverly put Kyle Tooze through on goal but although his chipped effort evaded Lewis Clayton in the Cleeve net, it was blocked on the line by Will Turner. The Mitres, though, have some dangerous forward players and Ross Langworthy’s flick fell to Blaine Waugh whose shot was well saved by Sam Jepson in the Rovers’ goal.

Paulton defenders, with the returning Joe Paradise alongside Jack Dancey, Dan Restorick and captain Neil Martin, were choosing to play a highline of defence and, with Junathain Walker supporting, the Cleeve forwards were kept largely at bay.

Paulton were on top at this stage with the skilful Fin Haines showing some lovely touches in midfield. Player-manager Tooze and Ed Butcher were making good progress down the left side. This was Butcher’s first full game following his lengthy injured spell. A fine cross shot from him was well saved by Lewis.

But after 19 minutes and against the run of play, the Mitres opened the scoring when their number nine, Ethan Dunbar, beat the offside trap to then cut the ball back to Jay Malshanskyj, who had time to compose himself and drive the ball beyond Jepson from 12 yards. Almost immediately, Jepson, diving brilliantly to his left, stopped Joseph Selman from adding a second, again following fine work by Dunbar.

Paulton, galvanised by Jepson’s work in goal, gained some momentum and equalised in the 45th minute. Following a corner, Butcher swung in a dangerous cross which eluded everyone and flew into the top corner. 1-1! Rovers were back on terms.

In first half added time, Rovers were well on top. O’Hare headed over the bar and Tooze went close on several occasions. The Mitres, desperate for half time, were forced into some agricultural challenges to stop the threat of Butcher’s pace. Clayton’s fine saves ensured the half time score remained at 1-1.

The second half began as the first ended – with Rovers having the momentum. Tooze worked hard to win a corner on the left. The resulting header from Haines seemed destined for the top corner but for a remarkable save from Clayton. Joe Morgan’s shot went agonisingly close.

Yet it was the visitors who took the lead when that man Dunbar moved forward into the Rovers penalty area. His shot took several deflections until Turner turned the ball home from close range to make it 1-2. Now it was the Gloucester team who began to run the show and Rovers seemed to lose their way as their play became untidy and scrappy.

Then, in the 71st minute, Jepson’s goal kick was firmly headed forward by a Cleeve defender. Langworthy latched on to the ball, confidently strode through Rovers static high line and gave Jepson no chance with a confident finish.

Just a minute had passed when Dan Restorick, who had had a splendid match, was unfortunate to deflect yet another dangerous cross from Dunbar beyond Jepson to make the score 1-4. A rash of substitutions from both sides saw the game became a bad-tempered affair as the referee produced several yellow cards, but Paulton continued to press andNeil Martin, on for Butcher, headed home what proved to be a consolation goal.

In the 85th minute O’Hare was sent off for lashing the ball wildly toward the visitors’ bench. Reduced to ten, Rovers were unable to mount any serious pressure, and Bishops Cleeve saw the game out.

Paulton man of the match: Sam Jepson – some fine saves and vociferously supportive of his defence. Noel Avis

One for you armchair referees. Towards the end of yesterdays game, there were two footballs on the pitch. The referee ignored the shouts until play got close to the spare ball. He then stopped the game as Paulton were driving forward. This led to Dave O’Hare booting the ball in frustration and his resultant red card. What should have happened?

Noel Avis