Evo-Stik Southern Div 1 South & West.
Cirencester Town 1 Mangotsfield 0.
CIRENCESTER TOWN kept the play-off places within touching distance with a dour but precious 1-0 victory over Mangotsfield at a bitterly cold Corinium Stadium on Tuesday night.
Left back Ellis Dunton capped a man-of-the-match display in defence to score the winner early in the second half.
Apart for a ten-minute spell halfway through the second period when they allowed the Mangos to pin them back in their own half, Ciren saw out the game relatively comfortably.
After a mid-season hiccup when they shipped goals too easily, Ciren have again become increasingly difficult to break down and they defended superbly on the night, so much so that keeper Glyn Garner did not have to make one save worthy of the name.
And that despite the absence through injury of their first choice centre back pairing, Leigh Henry and Chris Thompson.
Jon Beeden came in to share the central defensive duties alongside out-of-position captain Jamie Reid and was a rock at the back, while Shane Anson showed again that he has made a seamless transition from the Hellenic League with another sterling display at right back.
Manager Brian Hughes will not be happy, however, that his injury list has grown by two. Joe Shepherd limped off as early as the ninth minute after being stamped on and influential midfielder Ben Wells did not finish the first half after injuring his ankle in a tackle.
Fortunately for Ciren, they have another midfielder who can hit a sweet dead ball and it was from a James Mortimer-Jones free kick that Dunton scored the winner in the 57th minute.
I may be doing the young left back a disservice but there seemed an element of fluke about the way his back-post strike crept past Ciren old boy Kev Sawyer and nestled into the corner of the net.
Sawyer was certainly the busier of the two keepers and either side of the goal he did well to keep out strikes by both Scott Griffin and Sam Collier, the nearest either side came to another goal.
If the resolute Ciren can keep their best XI fit, make more use of winger Josh Morse’s pace and close control, and just prove more prolific in front of goal, they could yet have a fruitful second half to the season.
Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson, Dunton, Beeden, Reid, Mortimer-Jones, Shepherd (Hooper, 9), Wells (Griffin, 42), Collier, Bennett, Morse. Unused sub: Packer.
Standard MoM: Ellis Dunton.