Youngsters come of age in Cirencester victory
Evo-Stik Div 1 South & West.
Cirencester Town 3 Sholing 2.
CIRENCESTER TOWN again showed their battling qualities to come from behind and claim all three points against Sholing on an unusually benign winter’s day at the Corinium Stadium. Sholing, their coffers boosted by lucrative runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy, have been playing catch-up in the Southern League, winning six of their seven games since the turn of the year.
And when they went in front after just five minutes through the pacy Marvin McLean, it looked as if an under-strength Ciren, without first team regulars Jamie Reid (suspended), Chris Thompson (injured) and Josh Morse (England Colleges U21 duty), might have a frustrating afternoon.
But Brian Hughes’s team has not been built on sand.
Sholing did shade the opening period in terms of possession, although neither keeper had much to deal with and chances were limited at either end.
Meanwhile, the highly-rated striker Lee Wort, who has turned down a move to Conference side Eastleigh and has been responsible for two recent hat-tricks, was kept very quiet by a Cirencester defence in which Shane Anson wore the captain’s armband for the first time. Then, in added time just before the break, the home’s side’s half-time team talk become a lot perkier when Ben Wells equalised.
For once, the Ciren attack managed hold the ball up on the edge of the box and when it came to Wells from Collier, the midfielder teed himself up for the sweetest half volley across Matt Brown and into the bottom corner of the net.
Central defender Beeden, who had been booked in the 40th minute for a trip on Wort, was sacrificed at the break as manager Hughes went for the victory.
James Mortimer-Jones dropped to right back, while captain Anson moved alongside Leigh Henry and left back Ellis Dunton at the heart of Ciren’s defence – which continued to offer Sholing nothing but crumbs to feed on.
As an attacking threat, however, Town proved a different proposition. Shane Bumphrey, who came on to play wide left, was a constant nuisance to the visitors with his height and direct running, while fellow Development Team player Brad Hooper grew into his midfield role and had a fine second half. In fact, all the Ciren players raised their game by a notch or two.
Bumphrey got Ciren’s deserved second goal in the 63rd minute when ramming home a Wells free kick.
But Ciren were mometarily rattled three minutes later when, against the run of play, Sholing captain Byron Mason produced a top-drawer strike from 25 yards to beat Glyn Garner.
Ciren took little time to regain their momentum, though, and after two Wells near-misses from distance, Aidan Bennett, coming in at the back post, fired home a cross from ten yards.
Collier (twice) and Bennett had chances to extend the Cirencester lead late on, both failing to test Brown, before common sense prevailed and the hosts opted to see out time rather than chasing a fourth goal.
Cirencester entertain League Two high-fliers Cheltenham Town in the Gloucester Senior Trophy on Tuesday night, a game switched from Whaddon Road, and they bid to extend their win sequence in the league to three when they visit Tiverton on Saturday. Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson, Dunton, Beeden (Bumphrey, 46), Henry, Mortimer-Jones, Hooper, Wells, Collier, Bennett, Packer. Unused sub: Griffin, Shepherd.
Standard MoM: Leigh Henry.