Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup
Longlevens 4
Fairford Town 0

FAIRFORD Town made a second round exit from the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup, despite an impressive first half showing in a fifth meeting of the season with Longlevens, writes Chris Tanner.

New signing Dan Bailey came into the starting XI on his return to Fairford after signing from Royal Wootton Bassett, with Mason Hathaway also included at left-back following a fleeting appearance off the bench for Swindon Supermarine 24 hours earlier.

The visitors made much of the early running and Lee Smith fired agonisingly over the upright with 12 minutes gone after an excellent cross by Josh Gregory.

Fairford ‘keeper James Hemming made a superb low stop to deny Jack Sklenar three minutes later before Michael Oakes and Shane Bumphrey had chances at the other end.

Four corners in succession saw the visitors keep the pressure on but they were unable to find a way past home stopper Ash Wintle.

The deadlock was broken, against the run of play, with a fine strike on 37 minutes. Dave Merrick collected a neat lay-off from Brad Martin and whipped a curling effort around the defender into the top corner past the unsighted Hemming to give the hosts the half-time advantage.

Having looked solid in the first period, Fairford were unable to get a grip on the early second-half exchanges with Hemming again making another good stop to deny O’Connor.

The pressure continued to mount from the home side and Fairford were caught out with a defensive lapse allowing Sklenar a clear run and finish to make it 2-0 just after the hour.

Hemming again made further good stops to twice deny substitute Vanstone, with the game now stretched as Fairford did their utmost to get back into the tie.

It was game over seven minutes before time when Martin ran clear after another defensive error to finish well and he grabbed his second of the night a minute before the end to put the seal on a solid’s night work for the hosts.

It had been a game of two halves for the visitors, with three errors punished by a clinical home frontline.