Cirencester two wins off play offs after Whitehead brace

After making his Severn Sport debut, Will Ledbury reports on a big three points for Cirencester in our featured game this afternoon.

On a wet and Windy afternoon at the Corinium Stadium Cirencester came from a goal behind to beat Paulton Rovers 2-1 in the Southern League South West, courtesy of two goals from the in-form Ben Whitehead.

It wasn’t the best of starts for Cirencester, as they fell a goal behind early on thanks to Paulton defender Sam Hedges’ header. A corner was drilled in by new-signing Nuno Felix where Jonkerman could only parry the ball back out to the Paulton players’ feet, and his second attempt was headed home powerfully from the centre half.

There was further disappointment for Centurion’s boss Charlie Griffin, as he was forced to make a change early on. Aidan Bennett, who picked up a knock, was replaced by veteran forward Alan Griffin. The Centurions boss will be hoping the injury to Bennett wont be too serious.

With Cirencester pushing for an equaliser, they were caught napping at the back. Left back Ellis Dunton lost out to Josh Morgan-Williams who’s incisive pass found the feet of Jack Ball. But the forward couldn’t convert from about 12 yards out. Paulton manager John Rendell was furious with Ball who failed to put his side two goals ahead.

Cirencester were the side to come closest to scoring the next goal. A free kick on the left hand side was floated towards the back post where Alexandru Albert rose highest, only for his header to crash of the post.

With only a couple of minutes left on the clock, it looked like Paulton were heading into half time ahead. But after some clever defending from Albert and Connolly, Cirencester broke at break-neck speed where forward Ben Whitehead managed to beat his man and drill the ball past Hannah in the Paulton goal. Whitehead finding the back of the net for the 30th time in all competitions,

Referee Craig Scriven drew the first half to a close, and both teams went into the break on level terms. Cirencester heading into the dressing rooms the happier of the two sides after recovering from being a goal behind early on.

The second half started with the same high-intensity as the first. Paulton winning a free-kick on the left hand side was almost telling of how the rest of the match would play out. However neither side created too many clear cut opportunities. Paulton manager Craig Scrivens rolled the dice, trying out all three substitutions in an attempt for his side to grab the valuable 3 points.

But with 10 minutes remaining it was the home side who went in front. A neat exchange between Pook and Ouldridge on the right flank was poorly dealt with by the visitors and the ball fell to the feet of Whitehead who smashed the ball home from 18 yards out taking his season tally to 31.

With full time fast approaching, Cirencester had an opportunity to seal the victory. Ben Whitehead was played through on goal and after his effort was saved by Andrew Hannah, Tommy Anderson failed to convert his effort into the empty goal.

We said on commentary that the miss could come back to bite Cirencester, especially when Paulton Rovers did everything they could to snatch an equaliser at the death. Keeper Andrew Hannah went forward for a late flurry of corners but the Centurions held firm to secure the win that sees them just 6 points from the Play Offs.

Their next fixtures are against Play Off hopefuls Evesham and Bideford, and if Charlie Griffin’s men can acquire positive results then Cirencester Town could be on-course for gaining promotion to the Southern League Premier at the first time of asking.

Cirencester Town: Jonkerman, Christoper, Dunton, Pook, Albert, Connolly, Anderson, Ouldridge, Bennett (Griffin), Whitehead, Spalding (Mortimer-Jones)

Subs Not Used: Lloyd,  Lewis, Rose

Paulton Rovers: Hannah, Knott, Felix, Hedges (Chandler), Ford, Tippins, Sims (Hillard), Evans, Ball (Simpson), Morgan-Williams, Cann

Subs Not Used: Guest, Byrne

Referee: Craig Scriven

Severn Sport Man Of The Match: Ben Whitehead (Cirencester Town)

Value for money: 4/5