FOOTBALL: Cirencester consolidate place at the top by hitting four past Mitres

FOUR goals, three points, a clean sheet and consolidation at the top of the table for Cirencester Town.

Calor Southern League Div 1 South & West

Bishops Cleeve 0

Cirencester Town 4

Yet this forgettable game bore little relation to Ciren’s two magnificent recent performances against title rivals North Leigh and Paulton Rovers.

The Mitres had enjoyed a mini revival recently and competed with gusto for the first 20 minutes when the visitors gave no indication of being league leaders. Neither team strung together a meaningful move of even six passes, with the ball spending far too much time in the air.

However, three Ciren goals in the space of 14 first-half minutes killed the game as a contest.

Cleeve goalie Jamie Moore rightly received a blast from player-manager John Brough when, in the 12th minute, he raced out of the area into his left channel and attempted to hook it back into play rather than put it in Row Z ie Cleeve’s training ground behind the stand.

All he managed to do was find Sean Wood 35 yards out and the midfielder took one touch before raising a lob that agonisingly landed on the roof of the net, with Moore still stranded.

Moore redeemed himself when tipping over a rasping Lee Smith effort six minutes later but he could do nothing about the striker putting Ciren 1-0 up from the penalty spot in the 21st minute after being recklessly tripped in the box.

Cue a barrage of Ciren pressure with Ellis Dunton heading in the second goal after Cleeve failed to clear a Wood free kick in the 26th minute.

Three minutes later Ciren had a number of opportunities to make it 3-0 in a protracted goalmouth scramble but they did extend the lead in the 35th minute. Moore, who was looking decidedly shaky, batted a shot back out into the danger area and Shane Bumphrey, who started because Steve Davies aggravated an injury in the warm-up, volleyed home a difficult chest-high ball from six yards.

To their credit, Cleeve did not melt. In the 44th minute, they could have pulled one back when Glyn Garner spilled a free kick and Louie Barnfather (previously a goalkeeper) grazed the bar with a first-time effort.

The key moments of the second half came only five minutes in. Garner produced the save of the match to keep out a Barnfather strike, while the follow up was blazed over. And there ended Cleeve’s possible rally.

The final talking point came in the 70th minute. Smith was the meat in a sandwich to earn another penalty and substitute Jody Bevan, on 249 league goals, hovered expectantly.

Smith appeared not to make any eye contact with his fellow striker and promptly beat Moore in exactly the same place as he had done in the first half.

Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson (capt), Prictor, Mortimer-Jones, Dunton, Henry, Edge, Wood (Hooper, 74), Bumphrey (Bevan, 67), Bennett (Davidge, 78), Smith. Unused subs: Bromley.

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