Calor League Div One South & West.

Cirencester Town 0.

Tiverton Town 0.

THE HARSH reality is that second-placed Cirencester have let league leaders Merthyr Town off the hook in a recent spell of four home games that has yielded just three points.

But the goalless 0-0 draw with Tiverton Town on Tuesday night showed there is still fire in the belly of the title-chasing Ciren troops.

Tivvy arrived as one of the form teams in the division, while the stuttering hosts also had a mini crisis in defence with both centre backs unavailable – Mark Pritchett serving the first game of a two-match ban and Leigh Henry resting a tight hamstring which is likely to keep him out for a further two games.

All four of Ciren’s back four – James Mortimer-Jones, captain Shane Anson, Ellis Dunton and Aiden Bennett were playing out of position – and yet they did a magnificent job, again giving keeper Glyn Garner a relatively quiet night.

As is becoming a regular occurrence, Ciren only really came alive in the second half when playing down the slope to the Arena.

In the first 45 minutes it was all about containment as the lively Tiverton played most of the slick football. But the home defence and midfield, though often at full stretch, denied the visitors any sights on goal.

The dynamic of the game changed at the break and Ciren were on the front foot from the outset.

Matt Liddiard’s opening shot in the 49th minute lacked the power of some of his ferocious tackles and three minutes later Lee Smith cleverly read a difficult bouncing over the Tivvy defence before testing keeper Michael Searle low at his near post. Just before the hour mark Ellis Dunton grazed the bar with a header from a corner.

In the 68th minute Ciren carved Tivvy open resulting in a cushioned knock down from sub Shane Bumphrey which Joe Shepherd fizzed into the palms of Searle from 20 yards.

It was by means a battering – too many Ciren passes were still being misplaced – but apart from a chance for Michael Nardielo which Garner save, it was all Ciren and the energetic Shepherd and Bumphrey were a constant source of danger.

And yet the visitors could have nicked it in the 92nd minute when two Ciren defenders collided, ended up on the floor, leaving Maxim Kowal with a free shot from 18 yards which he dragged wide.

Ciren have closed to seven points behind Merthyr and still have two games in hand, but now face three successive away trips starting with Taunton Town on Thursday.

Cirencester Town: Garner, Anson (capt), Dunton, Wood (Hooper, 72), Liddiard, Bennett, Shepherd, Mortimer-Jones, Bevan (Bevan, 60), Davies, Smith.

Unused subs: Prictor, Kyle Pitts, Jack Smith.