Evostik Div 1 South & West.
Cirencester Town 0 Swindon Supermarine 0.
CIRENCESTER TOWN ended high-flying Supermarine’s ten-game winning sequence with a gritty and dogged rearguard display in a contest that never got as feisty as is traditionally the case in this clash.
After an opening 20 minutes when Marine looked to be suffering from a New Year’s Day hangover, the Swindon side played the zippier football and dominated most of the exchanges.
But as the game wore on, the hosts began to believe they could nick a result and, although a faultless Dave Evans in the Ciren goal was the busier of the two keepers, it would have been cruel to deny Ciren the point their committed performance warranted.
Manager Brian Hughes stuck with his new-look back three of Ricky Allaway, Chris Thompson and Leigh Henry, and they delivered the team’s second successive clean sheet – also stopping Supermarine from scoring for the first time this season.
Ciren looked the more likely to strike in the opening 20 minutes with George Washbourne, Ben Wells and Allaway all having chances to test keeper Kent Kaupinnan, some of which were wasted.
Supermarine inevitably awoke from their slumbers and, with Chris Allen leading the assault from midfield, got a foothold in the game.
After an uncharacteristic mistake in defence by Ellis Dunton, Ashley Edenborough, one of many former Centurions in the blue of Swindon, pounced in the box although Evans was well placed to make a good block. In the 38th minute, the busy Josh Parsons tested Evans with a snap shot on the turn and Ciren looked happy to get in at the break all square, despite Washbourne’s jinking run and shot which went over the bar in the 40th minute.
Again Supermarine were in the ascendancy during the early stages of the second period, and Ciren were in the debt of their young man of the match and right back Aidan Bennett, who produced two telling late blocks to deny both Danny Hilder and Parsons.
The longer Ciren stayed in the contest, the more they began to provide a threat of their own and Joe Shepherd had a glorious chance to put his side in front in the 68th minute when connecting with a firm header, only for it to sail inches too high.
Ciren also began to get more joy holding the ball up and winning free kicks when Scott Griffin and the returning-from-injury Sam Collier entered the fray as subs. However, Ciren could never become complacent with Parsons in opposition and he prompted a fine tip-over save from Evans to his firmly struck free kick in the 75th minute.
In truth, Supermarine created no further chances of note as the resolute Ciren defence, led manfully by Allaway, proved too stubborn to concede.
Now that boss Brian Hughes appears to have successfully patched up his leaky defence, he will no doubt address his side’s shortcomings up front. At the moment, they only look threatening from Ben Wells’ set pieces.
But what they lack in guile, pace and creativity in attack, they certainly earn bonus points for character – and plenty of it. Cirencester: Evans, Bennett, Dunton, Allaway (capt), Henry, Thompson, Wells, Shepherd (Hooper, 80), Packer (Griffin, 68), Washbourne (Collier, 68), Mortimer-Jones. Unused subs: Hawkins, Beeden. Standard MoM: Aidan Bennett.