GFA Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Cinderford Town 1
Cirencester Town 3
CIRENCESTER TOWN will face Bristol City Reserves (Under-21s) in the final of the GFA Senior Challenge Cup after beating Southern Premier rivals Cinderford 3-1 at The Causeway.
With the exceedingly important final league match against Kings Langley on Saturday, which will help determine whether they are relegated, Cirencester boosted confidence by making it three wins in a row.
Boss Charlie Griffin took the opportunity to give first senior starts to two more Development Team players, Max Arnold and Angus Brereton.
The pair started in a young back three alongside Robbie James and they stood up to the challenge well.
In a very lively opening, Cirencester took an early lead after seven minutes when Lewis Thompson latched on to the ball near the centre circle, charged forward, rounded the ‘keeper and tucked the ball in from eight yards.
Cinderford responded to this setback and pressed the visitor’s defence who made a couple of blocks to deny them while Cirencester had a couple of headers go wide of the target.
At the mid-point of the half Cirencester increased their lead following a free kick as Aidan Bennett, back after his four-match ban, managed to head home from a few yards after James had headed back across the goal.
Around the half-hour mark Cinderford clipped the Cirencester crossbar before opening their account as Craig Norman managed to turn and volley in one move at the near post.
Cinderford pressed further during the lead-up to the interval but were unable to add to their tally.
The home side started the second half briskly with Sammie Hicks seeing an effort saved by the feet of Scott Rose in the first minute.
The game became frantic as Cinderford pushed forward in search of an equaliser and Cirencester defended with conviction before counter attacking.
As the contest entered the final quarter Cirencester restored their two-goal cushion when Ellis Dunton collected a clearance near the penalty spot and drove the ball through a cluster of players into the net.
During the last 10 minutes, first team goalkeeping coach Rose made a couple of excellent saves to deny Cinderford enabling Cirencester to go through to the final where they will bid to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.
Cirencester Town: Rose, Elliott, Arnold, Diaz-Benitez, Brereton, James, Dunton, Spalding, Bennett, Thompson, Demkiv.
Subs: C Griffin, Brown, A Griffin, Liddiard, Gudger.