Fairford Town manager Jody Bevan says he was reasonably pleased with his side’s first pre-season friendly, but believes tiredness showed as Cirencester ran out 3-0 winners.
The game started at an even tempo, with both sides getting a feel for the game in the early going.
Aidan Bennett, who is set to re-join Cirencester having departed the Corinium Stadium for Fairford last season, looked lively as he linked up well with Jack Freeman and Ben Hands in particular.
Fairford, who were playing their first match in over four months, held their shape well and despite not carving out too many chances kept the ball well – with Ian Herring in midfield seeing a lot of the action.
Cirencester found the Fairford shape to be frustrating, with Roger James and Freeman both being flagged offside when appeared to be put through, before Bennett’s cross-come-shot was headed away from danger by Ben Saunders.
In the end the Centurions took the lead with James broke through, saw his shot saved by keeper Ben Mitchell and Bennett was on hand to break the deadlock.
Two quick fire goals after the break settled the fixture, with Roger James on the end of both moves.
His first came when Fairford thought they had been given a free kick about 15 yards into the Cirencester half, only for the decision to be overturned and the free kick given the other way.
Ciren took it quickly and with a number of Fairford players still caught up the pitch the ball across was tapped home by James, who was clear at the back post.
James doubled his tally just three minutes later, when he latched onto a cross from the left, beating Sam Ayres to the ball and tapping home.
From there the game petered out slightly as both sides went through the motions of the second half.
After the game Bevan admitted that whilst the goals were sloppy, Cirencester were the better side of the two.
“I was reasonably pleased for a first run out with a lot of new faces,” said Bevan.
“For the first 30-35 minutes we showed glimpses of some good link up play and were patient and kept the ball. After that we started to tire and Ciren scored three times in a 10 minute spell either side of half time.
“The goals were sloppy from our point of view and there were certainly question marks over the two at the start of the second half. Ciren were clearly the better side and you could see the had benefited from playing games at the weekend, but hopefully we got some rustiness out and we will come on stronger for it,” Bevan added.
One thing that may have annoyed Bevan was his side’s rare lack of bite in the final third, with Ross Langworthy having the only meaningful effort on Alex Harris’ goal but the former Gloucester City man believes that the result shows how clinical and well drilled John Brough has got Cirencester Town.
“It was a game of few chances for both sides really and I can’t remember our two keepers [Ben Mitchell and Sam Ayres] having much to do.
“Ciren were just clinical when their chances came. Ross had a great chance just before half time for us which clipped the top of the bar but we didn’t create much else in all fairness.
“But when you play any team coached by Broughy the first thing you know is that they will be well organised and tough to break down at the back and so it proved.
“To be honest I would have been very shocked after 20 weeks off, if we had just clicked straight away and opened a good Southern League club up and created chance after chance,” Bevan said.
During the 90 minutes Bevan got a first look at new signings Sam Ayres, Sam Farr, Nick Stanley and Ian Herring – with the latter two putting in decent showings in the first 45 minutes and Bevan praised his players for their application during the game.
“The first game is all about getting minutes in the bank more than anything, but I saw enough to know that we are not a million miles away,” Bevan said.
“For example that was Ian Herring’s first game on the pitch for 16 months and I thought he ran the show for 35 minutes! His passing was excellent and his presence on the pitch was exactly what I hoped he would bring to us.
“Nick Stanley likewise has only had one training session and so I didn’t want to extend him to much, but again his quality on the ball is obvious for all to see. In the second half we got the chance to get plenty of minutes into some youngsters and I was pleased with how they all equipped and applied themselves,” added Bevan.
Whilst it hasn’t been confirmed, Bevan revealed that it is likely that Fairford will lose Ellis Dunton and Aidan Bennett back to Cirencester for the new season and the Robins manager admits he is looking to wait for the right player to be available at the right time before adding to his squad.
“Now we know that we are likely to lose Ellis Dunton and Aidan Bennett we will be looking to get a couple in before September that is for sure.
“We need to get a wide man/attacker in as we are light in that area and we have some targets in mind. I am convinced there is going to be a fallout of players from the Football League in the next month which will filter it’s way down the pyramid and impact us all.
“There is no rush or panic on our side and it may be that we need to be patient in order to get the right players to the club,” said Bevan.