CIRENCESTER TOWN winger Ben Reardon played his first competitive match on Saturday since joining from North Leigh in the summer – and scored with his first touch.

There were only two minutes on the clock when Reardon opened the scoring for Andy Minturn’s Development Squad, who went on to beat second-placed Old Woodstock Town 4-2.

It was the end of a frustrating four months for the pacy wide man who had looked one of Brian Hughes’s key signings in the close season.

Now Reardon can’t wait to get involved with the first team, perhaps even in Saturday’s away trip to Banbury.

Reardon’s availability comes at a vital time for his beleaguered team, who are one off the bottom of the Southern Premier table having played more games than their immediate rivals, after an unparalleled run of injuries.

A superb performance at title-chasing Chesham United on Saturday, when they came close to taking all three points only to return to the Corinium Stadium with nothing after the hosts’ 87th minute winner, had the boss bemoaning that ‘football can be a very cruel game’.

But Reardon, who was snapped up after a number of starring displays for North Leigh against Ciren, should now be available for selection.

“I played 70 minutes on Saturday and though I was blowing a bit at the end, I came through it with no problems,” said Reardon.

“The goal was a good one, too, as I got on the end of a flick on from a thrown-in and bent it around the keeper.

“I’m now buzzing to play for the first team.”

Reardon had previously spent just 45 minutes in a Cirencester shirt – in the pre-season game with Cheltenham Town – having come from North Leigh carrying an injury.

“I had a lot of problems with my knee last season but I thought it was just tendonitis and I played through the pain because we were chasing a play-off place,” he said.

“I thought it would be okay if I rested it until pre-season, but I broke down completely and had to have keyhole surgery to remove some cartilage.

“It’s been hard to watch the lads struggling because they are a great bunch. I don’t think Hughesie has been able to field his full strength side all season.

“I just need more minutes on the pitch and I hope I can be involved at the weekend.”

Reardon has also been keeping tabs on his former North Leigh team-mate Matt Taylor, who has broken into the full-time game with Forest Green.

“Matty and I are always on the phone and there is plenty of banter,” said Reardon, who lives in Witney and works as a plumbing and heating equipment salesman.

“He went to a new club with an injury as well but he has now come through it and, of course, scored a hat-trick in their last game.

“I always tell him that he wouldn’t have scored half the goals he did for North Leigh without me supplying the crosses.”