IT was high fives all round for Ross Juniors men on Saturday as they downed higher-ranked Forest visitors Tidenham 5-2 at home in the George Sandoe Cup group stages, with Ted Heyes firing a hat-trick.
The game started evenly and North Gloucestershire Division Two high-flyers Ross had to work hard to earn the right to play at the Sports Ground.
But they took the lead when Heyes ran on to a long ball to go one-on-one with the Tidenham keeper and score. And Juniors then went further ahead when a deflection found Heyes who rounded the keeper to get his second.
But a soft free-kick saw them punished when a great header from the Division One club’s striker found the far corner to make it 2-1.
Then right on half-time Ross gave away a penalty and wondered how they found themselves going in at the break level at 2-2.
But Juniors came out determined to reassert themselves and dominated play from the restart, with Ben Scotford soon putting them back in front with an excellent chip.
Ross kept piling on the pressure and were relentless in their attacking play, winning a penalty which Heyes calmly put away for his hat-trick.
Juniors had to stay switched on at the back though and needed some great tackles from Sam Thorne, Sam Maher and Tom Thorne, solid defensive work from Carl Roberts and great saves from Mitchell Thomas. Some great play from Matt Darwin in midfield then put Ross on the front foot to add their fifth goal through Luke Darwin.
The only cloud was news afterwards that Lydbrook Athletic 2nds had leapfrogged them to top spot in the league thanks to a 3-0 win at home to Lydney Town B, though Juniors have a game in hand.
Newent Town, humbled 7-0 by derby rivals Hartpury University just two weeks before, made it two wins out of two with a 2-1 home win over top-half Malmesbury Victoria in Hellenic League One.
Dan Gayner put the Daffs in front just before half-time, connecting with a lovely free-kick into the box to power a header over the keeper and into the net.
And with 10 minutes to play, Gayner struck again, expoliting poor marking in the Victoria box to fire home for 2-0.
The two-goal cushion only lasted three minutes though, Harrison Archer heading home from a cross for 2-1 to make it a nailbiting last few minutes.
But despite pressure from Vics, Newent held on to secure a seventh win of the season that puts them a comfortable 17 points clear of the bottom two.
The Daffs reserves secured a first win of the season in midweek in Two West, but then came down to earth with a bump on Saturday afternoon losing 7-0 away to high-flying Malvern Development in Two West.
A Grange Sanchez brace and goals from Connor Roberts and Harrison Creed earnt a 4-1 win over Shortwood 2nds at Wildsmith Meadow a week last Tuesday.
They still need a great escape to get out of the basement, but with 11 games to play they are now eight points behind Longlevens Development with two games in hand and 14 points behind Shortwood with five games in hand.
Ruardean Hill Rangers gave Gloucestershire League title contenders Gala Wilton a hard battle at home before missing out 2-1.
Martin Smith put Gala ahead after just four minutes with a first time shot after Hill lost possession.
But the hosts were level within 10 minutes, after a beautiful one-two between Kane Samson and Ollie Mason saw Mason through to slip the ball under the Gala keeper.
It was all-square at the break, but the visitors struck again soon after the restart, Alex Gayner hitting a rebound home from an Aaron Underwood save from a Marcus Foxwell fre-kick.
Charley Mason saw a free-kick headed against the Gala post and possibly over the line with 15 minutes to go, but play was waved on and it stayed 2-1.
Rangers 2nds also lost out 3-0 at third-placed Ellwood in the North Gloucestershire Premier Division.
But Lydbrook Athletic maintained their six-point lead at the top, winning 2-1 away to Harrow Hill 2nds.
Huntley nearly denied the leaders’ closest challengers Bream, leading 1-0 at half-time before losing out 3-2 to the visitors, Daniel Hall and Lee James with the consolations.
But a second half Jack Lewis strike proved the difference for Howle Hill at Milkwall as they won 1-0 to stay fourth.
Mitcheldean slipped out of the promotion spots in Division One after a shock 3-0 home reverse to Redbrook Rovers, with Whitecroft 2nds and Newnham United leapfrogging them thanks to 8-0 and 6-0 wins over Rank Outsiders and Yorkley respectively.
Ruardean Hill A lost out 4-2 at home to bottom side Soudley 2nds in a Division Two basement battle and stay in the dropzone on goal difference.
But Dan Reed and Josh Street fired Ruardean United to a 2-1 home win over Ellwood 2nds to go 13 points clear at the top of Division 3.
Chasing Mitcheldean 2nds lost gound though, losing 2-0 at promotion rivals Sling.
There was a morale boost for bottom side Lydbrook A however, winning 3-1 away to Redbrook 2nds in the FJ Pope Cup.
Newent Town play next on Tuesday night (March 7) with a trip to Shortwood United.
Fixtures this Saturday (March 4) include – Milkwall 2nds v Ross Juniors, Newent Town Dev v Shipston Excelsior, Ruardean Hill Rangers 2nds v English Bicknor 2nds, Howle Hill v Bream Amts (Weston Playing Fields), Huntley v Harrow Hill 2nds, Lydbrook Athletic v Lydney Town A, Mitcheldean v Milkwall, Bream Amts 2nds v Lydbrook Athletic 2nds, Lydney Town B v Ruardean Hill Rangers A, Staunton & Corse 2nds v Longhope, Ruardean Utd v Rank Outsiders 2nds, Lydbrook Athletic A v Staunton & Corse A.