If there’s ever a player who gets stick that doesn’t deserve it, it is Josh Gowling. He was a League One quality defender when he first crossed our path, one of the few Tilson signings who had a quality about him.
He came to City after being a part of the Gillingham defence that conceded seven at Accrington, loaned out in disgust. I thought he immediately added security to our back four, helping us to three wins on the bounce including a clean sheet against Nuneaton. We beat Morecambe 2-1 and Hereford 3-1 whilst he was with us, as well as drawing 2-2 with Hereford in the FA Cup. Then disaster, he played as we got hammered 5-0 at home by Bury and off he went, back to Gillingham.
Even worse, he came back with Gillingham during that awful run in and scored as they beat us 4-0 at the Bank. He didn’t celebrate.
At the end of the season, he had options, yet he returned to us in the National League. That level of loyalty I appreciated, maybe it was money, maybe I didn’t see something, but I respected him for coming back. Was he a decent player for us? He was a Tilson player and for that, he suffered. He made 37 appearances for the wally from Southend and latterly David Holdsworth, right up until we secured our survival with the 3-2 win at Ebbsfleet. After that, he was gone.
He did come back to haunt us time and again, beating us 3-0, 2-1 and 4-1 whilst at Kidderminster, then 2-0 whilst at Grimsby and being sent off in a 1-1 draw. He helped the Cods back to the Football League too, earning him even fewer brownie points.