Reid sent off as North Leigh class tells at the Corinium
Evo-Stik Southern Div 1 South & West.
Cirencester Town 1 North Leigh 3.
STRIKER John Mills hit a hat-trick as North Leigh ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at Cirencester Town, the hosts playing the last quarter of an hour with ten men after the sending off of Saturday's goal hero Jamie Reid.
Mills bagged the goals but the architect of the visitors' success was Kieran Saunders, who made two of his team-mate’s goals and set up three other easier chances that the centre forward spurned.
Saunders drifted from flank to flank but wherever he popped up spelt danger for Ciren.
Yet the home side had started at such a high tempo and forced keeper Sam Warrell to make saves from James Mortimer-Jones and Alex Allard within the first two minutes.
But they ran out of steam after about 25 minutes and North Leigh, with the class of Saunders and the pace of Michael Hopkins to the fore, started to get a foothold in the game.
They should have taken the lead in the 37th minute when Saunders threaded a pass into the box for Mills, whose firm shot just missed the angle of post and bar from 15 yards.
Cirencester rallied with Alex Allard (header) and Ellis Dunton (long-range shot) missing the target at the end of the half.
As North Leigh cranked up the pace in the second half, Mills rounded both full back Sean Bailey and Town keeper Matt Bath before finding the side netting in the 56th minute..
Five minutes later, he made amends when meeting a Saunders cross too firmly for Bath to keep it out. In the 64th minute it was 0-2 for the now- rampant North Leigh, after Saunders again bamboozled the Ciren defence and his cross was finished with a bullet header by Mills.
A clearly frustrated Reid then saw red after a fiery four-minute spell in which he clashed with two former Ciren colleagues.
He retaliated against the prone North Leigh winger Jon Else after being felled by a nasty challenge from behind – both players had their names put in the book.
Then Cirencester gave themselves a lifeline. Ben Wells fired a fine long-range effort inches over before captain Matt Sysum hammered home a 75th minute Wells corner.
However, the Centurions comeback was derailed a minute later after a second yellow for Reid, thanks to an unecessary lunge on former Town midfielder Wayne Turk.
There was to be no way back for Ciren especially with Michael Alexis keeping everything composed in the North Leigh midfield.
Mills missed another sitter in the 89th minute after more brilliant build-up play from Saunders, but deep into added time he did complete his hat-trick.
Even the normally unflustered and reliable Chris Thompson proved fallible when North Leigh broke at pace from a Ciren attack.
Thompson’s underhit back pass was seized upon by the charging Mills, who took a couple of touches before blasting an unstoppable shot past the flailing arms of Bath to collect his match ball on the night.
Cirencester Town: Bath, Bailey (Griffin, 66), Dunton, Sysum (capt), Wells, thompson, Reid, Mortimer-Jones, Collier, Allard, Packer (Bennett, 79). Unused subs: Shepherd, Hawkins, Hale.
Standard MoM: Matt Sysum.