Calor League Div One South & West
Shortwood United 1
Cirencester Town 2
CIRENCESTER TOWN showed that they are not prepared to concede the title to Merthyr Town with a magnificent win at fellow promotion candidates Shortwood United on Tuesday evening.
And the key player for the visitors was Mark Pritchett on his return to a club where he had put up some many heroic displays in the past.
Pritch was involved in both Ciren’s first-half goals and then missed neither a header nor a tackle as his side came under the cosh in the second period In the first half, however, it was all about Ciren’s frighteningly mobile front three – Steve Davies, Lee Smith and Aidan Bennett – who never gave the Shortwood defence a moment’s peace.
In a display which had strong echoes of their equally impressive win at Paulton Rovers the previous week, Ciren tore into their in-from opponents from the outset and were two goals to the good with less than 20 minutes played.
They started with the same XI which had struggled to put away 10-man Bishop’s Cleeve on Saturday, but on this occasion they were a completely different proposition.
Their first goal in the16th minute was by no means their first chance. Centre back Mark Pritchett had gone forward to try and get on the end of a Glyn Garner free kick – and he did so not once but twice. Pritchett’s second header made its way to Lee Smith and the striker found the back of the net with a firm shot.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. Pritchett, again adding his weight to the attack, launched a volley which looked goal-bound in any case before it took a deflection off Joe Shepherd’s thigh and careered into the Wood net.
It was nothing more than Town deserved at the break as the home side struggled to keep them out A much-more-lively Shortwood finally got their act together in the second 45 and put Cirencester under persistent pressure, although the visitors still looked dangerous on the counter.
But Cirencester’s success this season has been built on the frugal nature of their defence and again the back five stepped up to the plate.
Keeper Garner had to come for a number of high crosses but such was the work rate of the 10 players in front of him that he had only one save of note to make, and that was in the first half.
Shortwood did get back in the game in the 74th minute when Adam Price miscontrolled a cross and the ball broke kindly for Duncan Culley to hammer it home.
Cue more stout defending from Pritchett and his cohorts who simply would not be passed.
The win took Ciren within two points of Merthyr, although they have now played a game more than the leaders.
Cirencester Town: Garner, Hooper (Bond, 89), Dunton, Pritchett, Liddiard, Henry (capt), Shepherd, Mortimer-Jones, Bennett, Davies, Smith. Unused subs: Bevan, Davidge, Wells.
IN a snippet for football trivia buffs, manager John Brough is going to bring two different teams to play Cirencester Town on consecutive Saturdays after quitting Bishops’ Cleeve to take over this weekend’s visitors Cinderford Town.