Cirencester Town have moved up to 5th place in the Southern League Division One South table after a 4-2 win in an entertaining 90 minutes against Winchester City, at the Corinium Stadium.
The visitors arrived in Gloucestershire full of confidence after their recent run in the FA Cup & FA Trophy, including a 3-0 win over Cirencester in the FA Cup 10 days ago. Their squad included Ollie Griggs on the bench who joined the club on loan from Dorchester Town.
Up front Oli Bailey looked lively from the get go and threatened to traumatise the Ciren defenders, in particular Ellis Dunton who struggled to deal with the forward’s pace early on.
At the other end Ben Whitehead and Alan Griffin looked lively between them, with the former firing wide before having an effort saved at the near post by Winchester keeper Ryan Pryce.
With Winchester City being scouted by Torquay United manager Gary Johnson, they took the lead just before the half hour mark when Bailey was sent through one on one. Bailey confidently dispatched the effort underneath Matt Wieczorek who had previously had little to do.
Ciren came back at their visitors and looked to push for that equaliser. Alan Griffin’s hold up play was sensational as he brought his midfield colleagues into the game. Full back Louis Spalding had a goalbound effort headed clear after Henry Spalding volleyed into the side netting from an Aidan Bennett cross.
It was a Henry Spalding corner that saw the equaliser come for the Centurions, a minute before the break. The corner was kept alive at the back post before Griffin touched the ball down for midfielder Tommy Ouldridge to step up to on the edge of the box. His finish was low and driven into the bottom corner.
Into the second half and Cirencester were in the ascendancy. Ben Whitehead got into the game straight away and won a free kick wide on the left. Ouldridge stepped up to return the favour for Griffin, with the forward heading home the perfect free kick into the box.
Wieczorek had to save well from a Jamie Barron free kick but he could do nothing to prevent Barron from equalising for Winchester. After the ball was threaded to Reece Rusher on the right of the d, the stopped was able to throw his right boot out to stop the shot, but the ball fell to Barron who calmly drove the ball home. 2-2.
The equaliser was made more frustrating for Charlie Griffin’s men as minutes before Ryan Pryce denied the hosts three times in as many minutes. First a double save from Henry Spalding before saving from Alan Griffin who found space at the back post.
Cirencester were running out of time and with ten minutes left they would have been wondering what they had to do in order to get a winner. First, Bennett saw his shot deflected over before Whitehead hit the post. From the latter the ball fell to Henry Spalding, who saw his shot blocked.
With just under 5 minutes left Cirencester got the all important breakthrough. Substitute Jack Freeman kept his cool on the edge of the box to play in Ben Whitehead. Whitehead challenged with Pryce and as Winchester’s defence were claiming an offside that wasn’t coming, Whitehead tapped home.
Then in injury time Whitehead would have the final say. After winning the ball wide on the right, he cut into the box before hitting a low, driven shot into the bottom corner to seal all three points for the Centurions.
Cirencester Town travel to Bideford in the league on Saturday, before hosting National League South side Gloucester City in the GFA County Cup next Tuesday night (23rd October).
Cirencester Town: Wieczorek, Christopher, Dunton, Connolly, L Spalding, Bennett, Mortimer-Jones, Ouldridge, H Spalding, Griffin, Whitehead
Subs: Freeman, Anderson, Windsor, Morris, Rose
Winchester City: Pryce, Hayward, King, Gale, Cocklin, Harfield, Rusher, Barron, Cook, Bailey, Mlambo
Subs: Corner, Rawkins, Benham, Griggs, Cunningham
Severn Sport Man Of The Match – Ben Whitehead (Cirencester Town)
You will be able to listen to the radio highlights of the game later in the week as well as being able to hear Cirencester Town manager Charlie Griffin’s full reaction on Friday Night’s Severn Sport Night In.