Cinderford edge past Tuffley to close gap to play-off spots


Cinderford Town held off a spirited Tuffley Rovers side, 3-2, to reduce the gap to the Hellenic Premier play-offs to four points.

An Andy Lewis penalty turned out to be the winning goal on an afternoon that saw Rovers reduce the arrears on two occasions.

Craig Norman and Ethan Hayes’ first half strikes saw the Foresters 2-0 up at the break and looking like they were set to cruise to victory, but after Mark Pritchett pulled Tuffley back into the game after the restart, the visitors had a number of chances to level up the contest.

But after Craig Norman was tripped in the box, Lewis stepped up to restore his side’s two goal lead, however Josh Radford’s late effort made Matty Driscoll’s side sweat in the end, although they would go on to claim the three points.

The win sees the Foresters move up to 8th in the Hellenic Premier table, four points behind 5th placed Slimbridge, who claimed a 3-1 win against Fairford Town later on Saturday afternoon.

Driscoll’s side have three games in hand over the Swans and two over Roman Glass St George, who are also part of the chasing pack.

In the race for the play-offs, there are four points between 4th and 8th, with Cinderford and Highworth seemingly holding the advantage due to having eight games remaining, whilst Slimbridge have five, Roman Glass have six and Fairford Town have three.

For Tuffley, the result is a disappointing one, following an impressive win over Brimscombe & Thrupp in midweek.

Tuffley could have a say on the play-offs, with fixtures against Fairford Town and Highworth Town to come in their final four league games over the next three weeks.

Neil Mustoe’s side can still achieve a top 10 finish and conclude their campaign with four home games in a row.

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Saturday’s game, being played at Gloucester City’s TigerTurf Stadium due to Cinderford’s pitch being waterlogged, started with both sides feeling their way into the contest and Kieran Alder’s early off-target effort the best chance of the opening exchanges.

But on the 16th minute, Cinderford produced their first bit of quality in the game, with a neat move ending with Ethan Hayes squaring for Craig Norman to tap home.

On half an hour, Cinderford should have doubled their lead – but Norman sent his free header wide from six yards.

However Cinderford made it 2-0 soon after, with Ethan Hayes firing into the top corner from just over 20 yards.

After Kerry Morgan’s overhead kick on the halfway line, Norman spread the ball left to Hayes, who cut in and let fly.

Tuffley came out for the second half looking eager to get back into the game, and within ten minutes, Joel White headed a corner to Jake Rhodes, who in turn nodded down for Mark Pritchett to reduce the arrears.

From there Tuffley were in the ascendancy, but missed chances through Jake White, Joel White and Kieran Alder.

The Foresters extended their lead when Norman was tripped in the box with seven minutes to go, with Andy Lewis giving his side breathing space.

The breathing space was snatched away within three minutes as Josh Radford’s deflected effort made it a grandstand finish.

Cinderford held on to claim all three points to keep their play-off hopes in their own hands.

Next up for Cinderford is a trip to Thornbury Town on Tuesday night, whilst Tuffley host Westfields on the same evening.

Cinderford Town: Smallcombe, Waugh, Jones, Vine, Lewis, Evans, Morgan, Watkins, Hillier, Norman, Hayes

Subs: Barnard, Skidmore, Mayanja Ascencao

Tuffley Rovers: Hoffland, Mann, Clifford, Pritchett, Joel White, Birkett, Jake White, Alder, Bevan, Rhodes, Chambers

Subs: Hicks, Smith, Walters, Lander, Radford

C Martin Roofing Man of the Match – Ben Vine (Cinderford Town)

READ MORE: Check out the full list of results in and around Gloucestershire from Saturday right here

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