FOOTBALL: Cirencester League suddenly a three-horse race as CHQ falter

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Poulton, in red, have made the Cirencester League more open with their victory at CHQ (blue) on Saturday Poulton, in red, have made the Cirencester League more open with their victory at CHQ (blue) on Saturday

A FEW weeks ago, the M4 Karting Cirencester & District League Division One title seemed destined to remain at CHQ United.

But a recent draw at home to Bibury Reserves and Saturday`s home defeat to second-placed Poulton, has opened up the title race with South Cerney now also back in contention.

With these three sides all having to play each other over the forthcoming weeks, it promises to be an interesting and exciting end to the season.

After a goalless first half at Hatherop Park, Poulton took the lead from a Steve Andrews penalty after a deliberate handball offence, but CHQ came back strongly with a brilliant goal from Troy Weaven.

Both sides pushed for the winner, but Poulton snatched it when, with appeals for offside being waived aside by the referee, John Dawson raced clear to seal the victory and move them to within a point of CHQ with a game in hand.

South Cerney`s 1-0 victory at Real Fairford courtesy of a goal from substitute James Shannon sees them now nicely sitting in third place, two points behind the leaders but having played the same number of games.

Last season South Cerney finished with a run of six consecutive league victories so they are not out of it.

Stratton United beat Oaksey 5-3 in a game between two relegation-threatened sides. A George Crotty penalty and a Rob Collier goal direct from a corner put the visitors in control, but United restored parity through Clive Brown and Ben Collett before half-time.

Chris Austen then put the home side ahead at the start of the second half, but Collier`s second, a header from a free kick, drew them level. However, two late strikes from Dan Timbrell earned Stratton their second league victory of the season and maximum points. In the other remaining league game, Lechlade won 2-0 at Siddington Sports.

Bibury Reserves and Beeches eventually played their Senior Charities Cup quarter final at the fourth attempt, with cup holders Beeches progressing to the semi finals with a hard-earned 3-2 victory thanks to goals from Luke Crosbee, Chris Fields and Danny Gudger.

In Division Two, Siddington Sports Veterans are the new leaders after their 5-1 victory at Tetbury Town III.

Dan Heaps scored the home side`s consolation goal. The Veterans' position at the top of the table may be short-lived as Kingshill Sports, despite having three points less, have three games in hand on the new leaders.

Oaksey Reserves had an excellent result beating CHQ Utd Reserves 4-0, with goals from Kyle Fitzsimmons, Simon Rose, Nicky Warman and Adam Wickson. In the only other Division Two game played, bottom side Minety were beaten 6-0 at Lechlade Reserves.

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