Cinderford Town 1 Cirencester Town 3
GFA Senior Challenge Cup Semi Final
THE glimmer of light at the end of a dark season for Cinderford Town was extinguished with this loss to fellow Southern Premier strugglers Cirencester.
A county cup final against Bristol City Reserves was the prize up for grabs but a two-goal lead amassed in the first half proved too much to overcome.
The opening goal from Lewis Thompson was followed up by Henry Spalding’s header, and while Craig Norman gave Cinderford hope with his 36th minute strike, a smart volley from Aidan Bennett killed the game on 73 minutes.
A bright point was the return of winger Blaine Waugh to the starting line-up after a lengthy injury lay-off, but the former Brockworth man’s rustiness was clear to see.
Thompson gave Cirencester the lead after just eight minutes, bursting through the home backline before rounding goalkeeper Giles Cutlan and passing into an empty net.
Fifteen minutes later, Spalding headed home a corner that Cutlan reacted too late to and Cinderford had a mountain to climb.
Norman’s neat finish saw him plant a side-footed effort home and Town had their tails up, with Sammie Hicks again pulling the strings from behind the centre forward.
But it was Hicks who had the best chance of recovering the deficit as after Norman’s 57th minute shot was blocked, he somehow contrived to put his effort wide with the whole Cirencester goal to aim at.
It was a missed opportunity the hosts would rue, as Bennett volleyed home with aplomb following a corner to secure his side’s spot in the final.