Evo-Stik Southern League Div 1 S&W.

Shortwood United 0 Cirencester Town 0.

CIRENCESTER TOWN earned a thoroughly well deserved draw at a saturated Meadowbank on Boxing Day against a Shortwood United side that had won their previous five matches.

Not only will Town boss Brian Hughes have been delighted to secure a welcome point, his defence held out for a clean sheet having shipped 12 goals in their last three outings.

Leigh Henry, on loan from Maidenhead United, made his debut in defence for Town and, with Alex Allard and Jon Beeden unavailable, Hughes opted to play Hughes in a very experienced back three alongside Ricky Allaway and Chris Thompson.

With Jamie Reid out until the end of January at the earliest after being belatedly diagnosed with a broken right leg, Allaway took the captain’s armband. Town were also still without Sam Collier up front due to his ankle injury.

The pitch was certainly playable to start with but cut up badly in the atrocious conditions as the game went on.

Shortwood kicked off into the strong, gusty wind in the first half and had the early possession, but Cirencester had the game’s first real shot when former Centurion Tom King was forced to punch away a dipping, swirling effort from Sam Packer.

Town then dominated possession, although ex-Slimbridge keeper Dave Evans had to make a terrific save to divert a Luke Gullick shot inches wide before TJ Bohane had a goal disallowed for offside.

In the 35th minute, Ross Langworthy appeared to be brought down in the area but the referee waved away all appeals.

Evans then saved well from Joe Tustain and Mark Pritchett curled a shot just over.

It wasn’t all one way traffic, however, and only a great block tackle from Ashley Thomas prevented Packer getting in a shot. Henry then misdirected a free header wide from an accurate Ben Wells corner.

In a scrappy second half, George Washbourne shot wide for the visitors and Wood sub Matt Bennett just failed to connect as he slid in on an excellent Jake Parrott cross. Evans made another fine save at the foot of his post to deny Tim Haddock before Town had two excellent chances to win it near the end but Aidan Bennett and Joe Shepherd headed wastefully wide.

In the 82nd minute, young Development Team player Brad Hooper replaced Washbourne up front and showed some good touches in his cameo debut for the first team.

Cirencester Town: Evans, Bennett, Dunton, Allaway (capt), Henry, Thompson, Wells, Shepherd, Packer, Washbourne (Hooper, 82), Mortimer-Jones. Unused subs: Griffin, Hawkins.

Ciren MoM: David Evans.