SATURDAY’S results not only confirmed that his Cirencester Town side are back in the Calor League title race – but that manager Brian Hughes’ chosen best man – the club’s chairman Steve Abbley – no longer has any reason to avoid his wedding day responsibilities on May 17.
Hughes explained: “When Claire and I named the day 18 months ago we had no idea it was going to clash with the FA Cup Final.
“Steve owns four corporate seats at Wembley and he mentioned three weeks ago there was a chance his beloved Everton could get there. Thankfully, Arsenal put paid to that over the weekend.”
As for Cirencester Town, they have bounced back impressively after the disappointing defeat to principal rivals Merthyr. Two wins, with nine goals scored and none conceded, proved there has been no semblance of a Welsh hang-over. And on Saturday they looked back to their best in the 2-0 victory over an in-form Stratford Town – in the second half at least.
“Saturday’s win proved that the Merthyr result has not thrown us off track,” said Hughes.
“We discussed it at training and agreed that with three home games in a week there was a real opportunity to gain nine points and suddenly everything would look healthy again.
“I thought we were very poor in the first half on Saturday and I was very annoyed with them.
“The second half is how we want to be – playing with energy, drive and passion.
“We got into a good routine around Christmas and the weather break did us no good. But I thought we were back there in the second half.”
Key to Ciren’s improvement were first-rate displays from the two loanees from Gloucester City, Will Morford and Matt Liddiard.
“All they both needed was a run of games,” insisted Hughes. “You are now seeing the quality Morf brings to the side, while Lidds adds a tremendous energy to the team.”
Hughes also singled out one of his long-term players, James Mortimer-Jones, whose extraordinary left-footed volley in the 80th minute sealed the victory over Stratford.
“Supporters often don’t see what Jonah gives you,” said the boss. “But we miss him badly when he is not in the side.”
Also back to form after a slight blip was left back Ellis Dunton, who made his 100th appearance for Cirencester against Stratford.
Unfortunately, Dunton is now due a spell on the sidelines after being sent off when guesting for Cirencester’s Development team.
“Ellis has to miss the equivalent of two Development games, and that means the next three matches for us," said Hughes, who is happy to be able to call on Ben Prictor .
“I have no fears about using Ben. He has played in some of our big games," said Hughes.