Tommy Anderson’s 89th minute winner was enough to book Cirencester Town’s place in the Southern League Challenge Cup final, beating a game Winchester City 2-1 at the Corinium Stadium.
The hosts made the perfect start to the semi final by taking the lead inside 4 minutes, with forward Ross Gabriel producing a lovely side footed finish across Harry Birchnall and into the far post.
From there Cirencester disappointed slightly, as everyone expected the hosts to kick on after the opener, however sloppy errors saw Winchester grow into the contest.
Veteran keeper Kev Sawyer produced a good one on one save to deny Oliver Bailey, after the WInchester man had battled his way through on goal.
Winchester would go on to half a couple of half chances and they would eventually equalise through Robert Carr just before the half hour mark. Carr was slipped in down the right side of the box and his shot trickled past the rushing Sawyer and into the bottom corner.
Just before the break the visitors could and probably should have taken the lead, when a corner from the right hand side was headed against Cirencester’s crossbar. Sawyer then blocked the follow up before smothering the ball.
Then, right on half time Toumani Sidibe had a glorious chance to make it 2-1 to the hosts, but after being found by Jack Freeman just inside the box, the winger took too long to shoot and could only side foot into the side netting.
Sidibe, who was slightly disappointing on the night, was replaced at the break with Tommy Anderson entering the field and the substitution immediately allowed the hosts to be more balanced and their tempo was upped straight away.
The second half fell into a slog in the early goings, with John Dennis and Levi Irving replacing Gabriel and Lewis Thompson, leaving Cirencester having to settle back into a rhythm following all three substitutions.
Irving had a great chance with twenty minutes left, but after Anderson fizzed the ball in at the near post, the young forward could only glance his header across goal.
In the final quarter of the game Cirencester City were flying. Anderson was a serious handful as was Jordan Morris, who broke from the back on multiple occasions. The former was found as the Centurions hit Winchester on the counter attack, but his effort was just wide of the upright.
There was a scare for the hosts with 10 minutes to go, as Morris allowed the ball to run across himself allowing Oliver Bailey to nip in. As Morris tried to make amends, he brought his man down 25 yards from goal.
The visitors demanded a red card, but Morris was cautioned for the challenge. Oliver Balmer stepped up to curl the free kick into Sawyer’s gloves and Ciren survived.
Then, the big moment came in the 89th minute. After Winchester failed to clear their lines from a ball from the right, the former Forest Green man stepped onto the ball before smashing the ball into the top corner.
Cirencester Town go into the final where they will meet Chesham United of the Southern League Premier Division after they beat Needham Market 1-0.
Next up for the Centurions is the arrival of Willand Rovers to the Corinium Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kick off 15:00
Cirencester Town: Sawyer, Hancock, Morris, Pook, Nelmes, Wellon, Sidibe, Turley, Gabriel, Thompson, Freeman
Subs: Irving, Ouldridge, Dennis, Clayton, Anderson
Winchester City: Birchnall, Williamson, Hayward, Griggs, Davis, Douglas, Balmer, Barron, Bailey, Miambo, Carr
Subs: Smith, Pryce, Hill, Preston, Bright
Severn Sport Man of the Match – Jordan Morris (Cirencester Town)