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Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division

Cirencester Town 2 - 2 Barwell

Cirencester had a precious victory snatched away from them in the fourth minute of added time.

A number of key decisions did not go Town’s way, none more important than the hotly-disputed stoppage-time penalty which led to Barwell equalising at 2-2 in this entertaining encounter.

Cirencester appeared to be seeing out time with a degree of comfort when Barwell captain Scott Hadland pushed the ball one side of Jamie Dunn in the area and pirouetted to the floor as he tried to bypass the Ciren defender on the other side.

To the disbelief even of the Barwell fans present, the referee pointed to the spot and one of the league’s top scorers Jamie Towers added to his long list of late goals by converting the twice-taken spot kick.

It was another cruel injustice – joining innumerable others in Ciren’s beleaguered season – particularly after they had come from behind with two cracking second-half goals to gain the ascendancy.

Town started brightly but it was Barwell who took an undeserved lead in the 19th minute when a shot on the turn from Towers ricocheted off a Ciren defender and invitingly into the path Luke Barlone, who made no mistake from 12 yards.

Buoyed by the goal, Barwell then started to get the better of the exchanges and Ciren were indebted to young Mike Hedges in goal as he made three fine saves before the break.

He parried a 30-yard swirling stinger from Nick Green in the 23rd minute, an even more powerful strike from Towers in the 42nd minute and then turned a Barlone header around the post in added time.

Apart from two teasing Jon Else crosses into the danger area, Ciren’s key moments involved controversial refereeing decisions. Scott Griffin was bundled over in the area in the 41st minute, but got no change from the official, and two minutes later Jody Bevan was battered to the floor by a charging keeper Liam Castle as he headed a Scott Claridge free kick goalwards.

Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t; but given how the points were determined an hour later, the decisions were extremely frustrating for the home side. A defensive mix-up gifted Ciren their way back into the game in the 52nd minute but there was nothing fortuitous about the sublime skill needed to execute the finish. Mason Rowley ignored the shouts of his keeper as he attempted to head clear a Ciren punt forward, only managing to sky the ball in the direction of Griff, who conjured a delightful overhead kick past the flailing Castle.

As Barwell had been by their goal, Ciren were now visibly lifted. Reid and Griffin were unable to test the keeper with subsequent chances as the hosts started to build some momentum, only for Towers to miss a sitter inside the six-yard box in the 64th minute.

Ciren should have gone ahead in the 76th minute when a delightfully-flighted Wayne Turk free kick cleared the Barwell defensive line, but Andy Gunn was unable to make contact with the ball from six yards out.

Two minutes later, Turk was again the architect as Ciren scored a second goal. The classy midfielder hit an inviting ball over the top which Scott Claridge burst on to and, after taking one touch, blasted the ball into the bottom left hand corner. Cue over the top celebrations as Claridge had a minibus full of mates at the game.

Ciren then ran the clock down effectively – until the disputed penalty deep in stoppage time.

They still had time to snatch it, but Claridge’s fizzing shot in the 97th minute of play was inches over Castle’s bar.

Victory would have lifted Town two places off the bottom of the table ahead of their crucial Tuesday night home clash with fellow strugglers Supermarine, but this is a season in which if it wasn’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.

MoM: Scott Claridge

 Attendance: 108

Referee: Matthew Rushton

Cirencester Town:

1 Mike Hedges
2 Scott Claridge
3 Jamie Dunn
4 Andy Gunn
5 Jamie Reid
6 Zak Westlake
7 Wayne Turk
8 James Mortimer-Jones (C)
9 Jody Bevan 
10 Scott Griffin
11 Jon Else 

14 Ellis Dunton (on for Else - 84 mins)
15 Paul Banks (on for Bevan - 76 mins) 
16 Aidan Bennett


1 Liam Castle
2 Robert Oddy
3 Guy Sanders
4 Nicholas Green
5 Mason Rowley
6 Rikki Bains
7 Jamie Towers
8 Scott Hadland (C)
9 Luke Barlone
10 Matthew West
11 Nigelk Julien

12 Thomas Weale
14 Kevin Charley
15 Jai Stanley
16 Scott Lower
17 Peter Saunders

Match Report by Danny Hall reproduced from the Wilts & Glos Standard's website which has regular articles on Cirencester Town FC

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