A MUCH changed Cirencester Town side battled past strugglers Barton Rovers to maintain their place in the Southern League Division One Central play-off places.

Cirencester made the two-hour journey across the country to meet Barton and after another battling performance, The Centurions returned with the three points.

With three of their usual back-four unavailable, the visitors were under pressure from the kick-off but they twice benefited on the counter-attack and some precise finishing from Ben Whitehead on both occasions put Cirencester 2-0 up inside 14 minutes.

The home side reduced the arrears four minutes later when Taylor Rhiney completed a measured ‘chip’ from the edge of the visitor’s box.

Rovers continued to press forward whilst Cirencester were dangerous on the counter and after the interval, it was more ‘end-to-end’ and littered with free kicks as both sides had their moments.

As the game was drawing to a close it took some determined defending and the safe hands of custodian Stuart Nelson to keep their hosts at bay before the game was finally secured with a superb strike from Aidan Bennett in stoppage time.

It was a quick turnaround for Cirencester following their win, as they were back in action on Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the Gloucestershire Senior Cup at Bishops Cleeve.

Two goals from Ross Langworthy, with the second eight minutes from time, secured the win for the hosts, with Felix Miles' equaliser on the hour not enough for the visitors to progress.

Cirencester will return home on Saturday for their league clash with Biggleswade FC (3pm).