FOOTBALL: Town back on top after fine second half rally at Bridgwater

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Another two goals for the prolific Lee Smith Another two goals for the prolific Lee Smith

CIRENCESTER TOWN came from behind against tough opponents in Bridgwater to reclaim top spot in the division.

Calor Southern Div One South & West

Bridgwater Town 1

Cirencester Town 3

After losing 4-1 to their rivals in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, the Centurions were keen on revenge and they were bolstered in defence by the Christmas signing of uncompromising centre back Mark Pritchett, from Shortwood United, on his second spell at the club.

The opening exchanges were end to end with neither side able to maintain any period of sustained pressure, but Bridgwater looked very dangerous down their flanks with Kyle Tooze (left) and Danny Wring (right).

And it was Tooze who opened the scoring in the 13th minute, cutting back on to his right foot on the edge of the penalty area and eventually getting a shot away which beat an unsighted Glyn Garner at his near post.

Cirencester had launched far too many high balls at the tall home defence in the first half but after a rousing half-time team talk from manager Brian Hughes, they played the ball on the ground in the second period at a much quicker pace and looked a more potent threat.

Six minutes into the half they were level; Lee Smith, after making a run from the halfway, was hauled down in the box and converted the spot kick himself with a well struck effort into the roof of the net.

In the 56th minute, a reinvigorated Ciren were ahead when Ellis Dunton headed home a Sean Wood corner after a late run at the near post.

The introduction of Jody Bevan for the hard-working Bumphrey in the 64th minute also began to give Ciren more options aerially thanks to his clever headers and flicks.

And one such header in the 88th minute released Smith to weave his way into the right side of the penalty area.

His initial shot was blocked but the defender handled the ball when going to ground and Smith calmly drove home his second penalty of the game to go joint-top in the league’s goal-scoring chart with 21.

Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson (capt), Dunton, Shepherd, Pritchett, Henry, Hooper, Wood, Bennett, Bumphrey (Bevan, 64), Smith. Unused subs: Prictor, Bromley, Davidge.

Attendance: 241.

Town face a tough test when they travel to Mark Pritchett’s old club, Shortwood United, New Year’s Day before welcoming play-off-chasing Tiverton Town on Saturday.

Tiverton are unbeaten in seven having thrashed title candidates Merthyr on Saturday.

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