Evo-Stik Southern League West
Mangotsfield Utd 1
Cirencester Town 1

CIRENCESTER TOWN’S inability to kill off teams when in a winning position is something that boss Charlie Griffin will not want to become habit-forming.

For the third game in the last five Town had to settle for a draw after going into the final minutes ahead.

It was even more frustrating on Saturday as the opposition, Mangotsfield United, played the final hour with just 10 men.

In the 29th minute Nick Peare was guilty of a high-footed challenge on Aidan Bennett which left the striker needing seven staples in an ugly head wound as his game was brought to a premature end.

There was no malicious intent from Peare, who may have been unsighted by the low sun, but – with Bennett losing blood from not one but two wounds – he did not question the referee’s decision.

It was the on-fire Bennett (six goals in seven games) who had put Town in front in the 19th minute, ramming home the rebound after a shot by the impressive Tommy Anderson was cleared of the line.

Town had already taken a measure of control before the Mangos were reduced in numbers and they would have been home and hosed at the break had not Anderson and Ben Whitehead been denied by the woodwork as well as by fine saves from George Dorrington.

But with the slope in their favour in the second half, the 10 men of Mangotsfield began to believe they could get an unlikely point, especially as Ciren had abandoned their front-foot football for a more casual approach in the second period.

Somewhat inevitably, the Mangos got a reward for persistence when Jake Gardner’s run into the right side of the box was not tracked and his cross was tapped in by Kane Simpson from six yards.

Despite the hosts enjoying their fair share of possession in the second half, Ciren’s new on-loan keeper from Bristol Rovers, Thom Jonkerman, had a quiet afternoon until picking the ball out of his net.

Jordan Stoddart, who now joins Worcester City, had one of his best games in a Town shirt and his centre back partner, the returning Ellis Dunton looked as if he had never been away (at Malmesbury Vics).

The emphasis was then on Ciren to go and win the game a second time and in the last 10 minutes they created enough chances to do so, with Whitehead, Henry Spalding and Jack Horrell all requiring a little more composure when faced with good opportunities.

Then, deep in stoppage time, Dunton planted a fine header towards the top corner which was somehow clawed out by Dorrington.

Two points dropped, for sure, but after the midweek humbling by Paulton, this was a performance with plenty of attacking purpose and the effervescent Forest Green loanee Tommy Anderson was almost unplayable in the first half when he could have had a hat-trick.

Cirencester Town: Jonkerman, Christopher, Jones, Horrell, Stoddart, Dunton, Anderson, Connolly (capt), Bennett (Pook, 32) Whitehead, Spalding. Unused subs: Lewis, Mortimer-Jones, Rose.