FOOTBALL: Cirencester Town spurn chance to rattle leaders Merthyr
Calor League Div One South & West
Cirencester Town 0
North Leigh 0
IF ANYONE has information about the whereabouts of Cirencester Town’s missing mojo can they please get in touch with the Corinium Stadium.
With leaders Merthyr suffering a shock defeat at Bishops Cleeve, Saturday was the perfect time for Brian Hughes’ team to significantly close a nine-point gap at the top of the table.
But for the third home game in a row, Cirencester gave a rather lacklustre display, especially in front of goal, and two points from those three games is not championship-winning form.
North Leigh had led the division earlier in the season and have been boosted by the recent arrival of players from Oxford City, notably Liam Malone.
The visitors played a full part in a game that, though never short on commitment, was low on quality, although a tricky swirling wind and the hard bumpy pitch made playing attractive football difficult.
Ciren had enough possession and a handful of chances in a game when neither goalkeeper was over-troubled, but they failed to convert any of them.
Lee Smith had similar chances about eight minutes into each half but the unerring accuracy of his finishing which has helped him to 27 league goals seems to have deserted him and he put both efforts narrowly wide.
Jody Bevan, starting after Will Morford’s return to Gloucester, was given little change throughout the game by former Swindon Town starlet Andy Caton but he did have one chance to score the winner in the 57th minute when Mark Pritchett won a header from the corner. However, Jody mishit his attempted hook shot from eight yards as he tried to guide it to past Adam McHugh.
The chance of the game came in the 84th minute when Ciren sub Shane Bumphrey got a yard clear of his marker only for McHugh to stand tall and make an excellent stop.
North Leigh had a similar number of sights on goal, without any better return, although the bearded strike duo Conor McDonagh and Kieran Sanders did give the Ciren centre backs Leigh Henry (injured and replaced by full back Shane Anson at the interval) and Pritchett plenty to think about, and Stuart Hole’s free kicks were always dangerous.
Within seconds of Bevan’s miss in the 57thn minute, North Leigh broke and Sanders was just inches off target with his attempt to find the top corner from the edge of the box. And in the 78th minute Morgan Williams will regret not steering a header either side of Garner rather than straight at him.
Ciren must now regroup for the Tuesday night visit of one of the division’s form teams, Tiverton Town, who have won 16 of their last available 18 points.
Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson (capt), Dunton, Pritchett, Liddiard, Henry (Wood, 46), Shepherd, Mortimer-Jones, Bevan (Bumphrey, 72), Bennett, Smith.
Unused subs: Hooper, Prictor, Bromley.