Red Insure Cup Third Round
Cirencester Town 1
Hungerford Town 4
BRIAN HUGHES kept faith with the youngsters from the Development squad who had done so well for him in the early rounds of this competition but four second-half goals from classy Hungerford Town ended any thoughts of an upset.
The Crusaders play their football a level above Ciren’s first team and they ultimately outclassed the inexperienced hosts on a filthy night at the Corinium Stadium.
However, Cirencester’s young bucks started the match with zip and vim, surprising their lofty opponents in the first 15 minutes.
When Joe Shepherd put them one up in the ninth minute with a good finish from a tight angle off a Shane Bumphrey cross it was nothing more than they deserved.
But Hungerford, who have no reserve side and therefore fielded a strong first team squad, inevitably made their class tell.
Only desperate defending from Ciren and some good saves from Adam Clatworthy kept the visitors at bay in the opening 45.
The tide turned in the 53rd minute with the first of Stef Brown’s three goals and when centre back Chris Holland went off as a precaution 56 minutes into his comeback game after an ankle injury, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Corinium youngsters.
Brown gave Hungerford the lead for the first time on the hour mark and then, in the 67th minute, captain Matt Day launched a 40-yard cross from the right touchline which, in the driving rain and swirling wind, somehow managed to find the top corner of the net.
Brown completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from time to seal the Crusaders’ passage to the next round.
To their credit, Ciren kept trying and substitute Dan Hill looked lively in a 20-minute cameo at the finish.
Cirencester Town: Clatworthy, Dunton (capt), Prictor, Bond, Pitts, Holland (Pitt, 56), Shepherd, Bromley, Smith, Bumphrey (Fusco, 76), Davidge (Hill, 71).
Unused subs: James, Luce