THERE was plenty of festive cheer for Cirencester Town on Boxing Day as they produced one of their best performances of the 2023/24 season to date in their 3-0 win over North Leigh.

The visitors arrived at The Talent Hire Stadium flying high in the Southern League Division One Central table, second in the league and just three off leaders Bedford Town, but they were second best on the day as Cirencester highlighted their own play-off credentials.

The hosts made a bright start and were ahead after 10 minutes. George Peare drove forward into the right channel of the box and he struck a fierce right-footed shot from 15 yards that visiting ‘keeper James Foster couldn’t prevent from finding the back of the net. 

Cirencester had their tails up by this point and they were keen to take advantage by making it 2-0, which they did approaching the half-hour mark. Miles was fouled after an impressive solo run and he dusted himself off before placing an accurate free-kick into the top right corner of the goal despite the best efforts of Foster.

Miles did have a chance to make it 3-0 just before the break but his effort went wide and at half-time the Centurions held a commanding 2-0 lead.

The visitors responded after the break and applied pressure on the Cirencester goal, but Daniel West twice fired wide of the target.

The Millers continued to press and almost halved the deficit but the crossbar denied George Gilmore.

Then, as the half wore on, it was Cirencester who regained ascendency and they made the game safe with 15 minutes to play as Miles' cross was headed back across goal by captain Jake Lee into the path of Nick Peare, who swept home from six yards.

The result moved Cirencester back into the top five with 31 points from their 19 matches.