Banbury United 0
Cirencester Town 5
CIRENCESTER TOWN rediscovered their goal-scoring mojo when hitting five past a sorry Banbury United.
Since thumping Bideford 6-2, Town have claimed just two points from three matches against high-flying rivals – but in each of those games they had opportunities to win.
Against basement side Banbury it was essential that they claimed winning brackets again and that was in little doubt from the moment Aidan Bennett opened the scoring in the 10th minute.
Bennett attacked a Ben Wells corner with real intensity and his firm downward header sent the net bulging.
Bennett was responsible for the goal of the game six minutes later, a sublime touch and turn leaving his marker floundering before he was coolness personified to slot past the advancing keeper Josh Hill.
Bennett’s strike partner Nat Jarvis, barren since his brace against Bideford, soon joined the party. Bennett whipped in an excellent cross from the left in the 29th minute after the impressive Brad Hooper had found him in space and Jarvis got real power on his header to score from 15 yards.
Ciren understandably then took their foot off the gas but Banbury never looked like getting a foothold in the game and a Ben Wells free kick which shaved the post and a close-range Ed Williams effort which Hill fortuitously managed to keep out in stoppage time could have made the first half even more embarrassing for the hosts.
Two minutes into the second period, a Jarvis snapshot from 25 yards beat Hill all ends up but cannoned back off the post. The striker was not to be denied, however, and in the 49th minute he headed home a Ben Prictor delivery from out wide.
With the rain continuing to bucket down Ciren subsequently lost some of their trademark urgency and Banbury at last showed they could string together a number of passes prompted by the cultured Marvin Martin. But a Darius Browne shot in the 59th minute, which flashed just wide of Glyn Garner’s post, was the best they could muster.
Indeed, Garner never had to make a save throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Deep into stoppage time, substitute Jamie Reid doubtless inspired by wearing the gold of his beloved Wolves, strolled on to a Garner clearance from deep and finished in the style of Derek Doogan in his pomp to make it 5-0.
Cirencester have already proved they can compete with the best teams in the Southern Premier while there is clearly a chasm between them and the struggling outfits in the division.
Unfortunately, they are being shackled by injury worries. Leigh Henry (knee) and Jamie Edge (ankle) had to sit out the Banbury match, Shayne Anson, Reid and Ben Wells, are arguably still not 100 per cent after their respective injuries and pacy striker Jarvis limped off with what looked like a hamstring tweak in the closing stages.
A full strength Cirencester Town can prove more than a match for the top-five sides – Hitchin, Chippenham and Redditch – they face in the next three games. Let’s hope they have all their key players on the park for that trio of big clashes.
Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson, Prictor, Pritchett, Hooper, Jones, Wells (Elliott, 73), Bennett, Jarvis (Reid, 78), Liddiard, Williams. Unused sub: James Mortimer-Jones.