Tommy Anderson put in a man of the match display as he inspired his Cirencester Town side to a 5-3 win over local rivals Cinderford Town, in a win that sees the Centurions move above the Foresters in the Southern League Division One South table.
In a first half that saw both sides struggle due to the windy conditions at the Corinium Stadium. Jordan Morris went close for Cirencester, whilst Callum Wood headed wide in Cinderford’s best chance in the opening exchanges.
Cirencester took the lead with eight minutes to go of the first half when debutant Bradley Gray’s free kick was headed up into the air, before defender Will Wellon looped his header over Andy Hannah to break the deadlock.
Cinderford nearly equalised before the break through Marley Thomas, but the winger smashed his effort over after a long ball forward.
At the break we spoke on commentary about the need for both sides to get the ball down and play and after the break it was Cinderford who took advantage first.
Having carved out a decent opportunity for Ben Watkins, Craig Norman headed home from the resulting corner. In the reverse fixture on the opening weekend Cinderford scored twice from set piece routines and they once again took advantage of slack marking at the back for Ciren.
However the Foresters weren’t level long as Cirencester regained the lead within 60 seconds. After seeing his initial shot saved by Hannah, the former Forest Green winger Tommy Anderson’s follow up was too hot to handle and defender Thomas Wright couldn’t get back in time to prevent the goal.
In a contrast to the opening 45 minutes, the second half was very open and within 5 minutes of going behind again Ben Watkins should have made it 2-2 after side footing his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
Anderson should have punished Watkins for the miss moments later when he leapt onto a scuffed clearance, raced clear but screwed his shot wide of Hannah’s right hand post.
However the miss didn’t prove costly when young forward Levi Irving headed in off the post from a great cross in from former Swindon Supermarine man Gray.
John Dennis added a 4th with just over 20 minutes left to stun Cinderford. Dennis picked the ball up wide on the left and was allow to cut in before drilling his shot low into the corner to make it 4-1.
Cinderford looked to have set up a grandstand final 15 minutes when from another set piece, Cirencester failed the clear their lines and after Lewis Clayton pulled off an incredible save from Blaine Waugh’s close range header, Norman followed up to nod in his second of the game.
Then a moment on controversy with Blaine Waugh going down in the box after being body checked by Nick Hancock and after having their cries for a penalty ignored, the misery was compiled on Cinderford when Waugh diverted a cross from Anderson into the far corner to make it 5-2.
Cinderford did win a penalty in stoppage time which Andy Lewis converted to reduce the deficit, but Cirencester claimed the three points and the bragging rights.
After the game we spoke to man of the match Anderson about how important the win is for Cirencester Town and his man of the match display.
“We really needed that win,” said the former Forest Green man. “In the last couple of games having lost and drawn, we needed that to boost our confidence again. We know Cinderford are a good team, who can play some really good football, so from our point of view is was a good win!
“Every game, my aim first and foremost is to work as hard as I can, run to make it awkward to make it difficult for the opposition – but also work hard to make my teammates jobs as easy as it can be.
Sometimes in football it’s just not your day, but if you work hard then you’re contributing something to the team’s performance. In terms of MOM, I liked playing in the number 10 role as it allows me to not just get forward, but to also get involved in midfield too,” Anderson added.
Anderson was one of the players on show who had been at Cirencester for most of the Charlie Griffin era and after the change of managers at the end of 2019, we asked Anderson about the differences now under new boss John Brough.
“Obviously Broughy [John Brough] has bought some players in to help improve the squad and the lads have come and settled in really well in my opinion.
But in terms of on the pitch, not a lot has changed to be honest. However I do think there’s more emphasis on defending and keeping that ball out of our net, so it makes the attackers job easier to win games for us,” said Anderson.
Cirencester’s next test in the Southern League Division One South comes away at second placed Frome Town next weekend.