Ciren keeper Matt Bath wins personal battle with Cinderford's Lee Smith
10:33pm Tuesday 4th September 2012 in Sport
Evo-Stik Div 1 South & West.
Cinderford Town 1 Cirencester Town 2.
GOALKEEPER Matt Bath made two penalty stops as well as a brilliant reflex save from six yards in his personal battle with Cinderford striker Lee Smith on Tuesday night.
Bath’s heroics ensured a battling three points for Cirencester Town, whose goals came from Scott Griffin (penalty) and Joe Shepherd.
The win, following on from the home victory against Didcot on Saturday, was especially noteworthy as Ciren were without Jamie Reid (serving a one-match ban) and the injured Chris Thompson.
Youngster Nathan Hawkins took the experienced Thompson’s place alongside Matt Sysum at the heart of the defence, while Joe Shepherd filled in for Reid in midfield.
After an even opening half-hour, Cinderford were awarded a penalty when Smith was adjudged to have been felled in the box. But Bath anticipated the spot kick and made a fine diving save low to his right.
Scott Griffin then showed his opposite number how to finish from the spot in the 35th minute after Shepherd’s fine run into the box had been illegally halted.
Four minutes into the second half, however, Cinderford were level after a goalmouth scramble and finish from Greg Lewis.
But in the 54th minute the move of the match was capped with a Ciren goal.
Griffin shielded the ball to Aidan Bennett on halfway and skipped down the left flank to receive the lofted return pass. Jinking past his marker, Griff laid a low, hard cross into the path of Shepherd who finished neatly.
In the 78th minute, the referee reversed his original decision to give Cinderford a corner and opted instead to award a penalty for a push by Sysum, having consulted with his linesman.
Smith stepped up to make amends for his earlier miss and, this time, shot to Bath’s left, but again the keeper guessed correctly.
And two minutes later, man-of-the-match Bath denied Smith for a third time, making a fine reaction save from six yards.
Cirencester were forced to hang on grimly at the death and when Cinderford did get the ball in the net in stoppage time, it was ruled offside.
Cirencester Town: Bath, Allard, Dunton, Sysum, Wells, Hawkins, Shepherd, Mortimer-Jones, Collier (Hale. 86), Griffin, Bennett. Unused subs: Bailey, Packer.