Evo-Stik Southern Premier.

Cirencester Town 0, Oxford City 1.

A TEPID Cirencester Town display saw them sink to their third straight defeat of the season after a Felipe Barcelos goal from 45 yards was enough to separate the teams at a blustery Corinium Stadium.

In an utterly forgettable first half, Ciren failed to conjure even one effort on goal and Oxford, smarting from a 6-0 drubbing in the week, were little better.

The visitors did come closest to scoring twice in the space of three minutes midway through the half.

In the 25th minute, Ciren keeper Danny Greaves and Zak Westlake crashed into each other trying to deal with a cross and the ball hit an unsighted Neil Arndale before trickling past the post.

Three minutes later, Arndale had to be alert to clear off the line – this time deliberately – when a firm Josh Green header from a corner was goalbound.

Oxford’s giant keeper Jason Mooney was called into action for the first time two minutes after the break when Andy Gunn nodded a Westlake cross into the path of Ciren midfielder Jamie Reid, whose sliced shot was easily saved.

Five minutes later, Paul Banks, the liveliest of Ciren’s three strikers, had a good shout for a penalty when the otherwise excellent Green bundled him to the floor, only for the home appeals to be waved away.

Town were at last playing with some tempo but they were rocked back when Barcelos scored in the 61st minute.

Having been fouled by Westlake, Barcelos took his own free kick from the left touchline and what would have been a dangerous curling cross became a wonderful wind-assisted shot which deceived Greaves and flew into the top right corner off the keeper’s hand.

To their credit Ciren tried to rally; David Stone headed over from a Mansell cross and the young loanee from Reading, David Murphy, who had had a miserable debut, glanced a 71st minute header wide from a Mortimer-Jones corner.

Perhaps convinced that Ciren had little to hurt them, Oxford came forward and were unlucky not to put the game firmly out of the hosts’ reach. After another bit of Barcelos magic, substitute Steve Basham hit the post with a glancing header.

And soon after, in the 78th minute, Reece Fleet thundered a shot against the home bar, with the Ciren defence at sixes and sevens.

Uncharacteristically, Cirencester seemed then to accept their fate and having started the game flat they finished it in the same manner.

They will need a much more passionate performance if they are to get anything out of the local derby with Supermarine on Wednesday.

Cirencester: Greaves, Arndale, Mansell (capt), Westlake, Reid, Gunn, Etheridge, Mortimer-Jones, Murphy, Stone (Tambling, 67), Banks (Sysum, 83).

Unused subs: Dunton, Mayo, Loughman. Ciren MoM: Neil Arndale.

Oxford MoM: Josh Green.