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Danny Hall from the Wilts and Glos Standard writes:
CIRENCESTER TOWN defender Ellis Dunton's decision to help out his mates and play in the Development Team's local derby clash with top-of-the-table Fairford Town of the Hellenic League Div One West has backfired. In what is always a feisty affair, Dunton was one of three players sent off late in the game after a fracas near the touchline. Fairford won the match at Cirencester's Corinium Stadium 1-0.
Dunton has now received a three-game suspension for the Development Team, but due to the first XI's busy current Saturday/Tuesday schedule he will actually miss four games for Brian Hughes' side. The Hellenic League ban takes in games with North Leigh (Jan 16), Clanfield (Jan 23) and Brimscombe & Thrupp (Jan 26), but during that period the first team are due to play Slough Town, Redditch United, King's Lynn and Biggleswade Town.
The suspension is a blow to Hughes' side for whom Dunton has been outstanding in recent games, his red card against Kettering notwithstanding. He had only just returned from the associated one-match ban when playing against Fairford. But manager Hughes was quick to defend Dunton who recently made his 150th appearance for the first team.
"I watched the game with Fairford and I said to their manager Gareth Davies that I didn't know how he could watch such incompetent refereeing week in and week out," said Hughes. Basically there was a skirmish at the end, which was caused by the referee. Ellis was trying to pull people off and yet he was one of the three that the ref sent off. "
One ray of light for Hughes is the imminent return of Ben Prictor, who plays in Dunton's customary position of left back. Prictor, like fellow first-teamer Reid, has endured a long-term absence with a serious cruciate injury. Prictor was on the bench for Brimscombe and Thrupp in their 1-0 Hellenic Premier defeat at Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday.
"Ben has been back training with us for a few weeks and has looked bright and bubbly," said Hughes. Now he needs to get some games under his belt before returning to our first team."