A further away victory for City was enough to pull us over the
line and to confirm final and absolute SLP safety for another season
with four games to spare. That this victory also left Cotswold neighbours
Cirencester in the deepest of relegation bother only made the result
even sweeter, and the differing fortunes of the two teams could
be seen throughout a one-sided contest. Whilst City cruised to an
early lead with goals from Ciren old-boy Scott Griffin and a thumping
header from Tom Hamblin, the home side looked like a team that believes
they're already down. Only once the impressive Jimmy Cox added a
well deserved third did Ciren summon up any figth at all, and even
another City own goal couldn't disguise just how dominant we were
with only some bad luck and inspired goalkeeping prevented a rout.
City finally opened the scoring after Jimmy Cox charged on to a
Webb ball down the left wing and comfortabley shrugged off Ciren's
Ollie Holder. Coxy looks like a player getting his legs back and
even here showed a maturing willingness to get his head up and look
for his team mates. His cross found a string of City players out
numbering the defence. Sykes met the ball first but his twisting
volley smacked straight into the dirt, only for the ball to fly
up high for Scott Griffin to nod into the net from close range.
It was a good poachers goal, and coming against the club he left
so recently it was one Griff clearly enjoyed.
With Ciren reeling and clearly in complete disarray in defence
you had the impression another was coming, and it soon did. Scott
Griffin had wriggled clear down th left wing, and with centre-back
Lee Molyneux already pulled wide out of position once he was beaten
he flet he had little choice but to bring him down. It was a cynical
trip and deserving of the yellow card which duly came, but the quality
of Syko's free kick delivery ensured full retribution was exacted.
The ball flew at pace onto the penalty spot where it was met by
a thumping header down into the net by the towering leap of Tom
Hamblin, the big defender delighted to open his City account before
the season closed.
Ciren were clearly pumped up after half-time, but any hopes they
had of pulling the game back round were punctured almost immediately.
Their extra zest just left even larger gaps at the back and City
were soon three ahead, but could have scored a hatful. First Cox
cut past the trailing Ollie Holder and smacked his shot against
the base of the near post, and when the ball came back to him he
had the presence of mind to cross low to Marc Richards who saw his
shot blokced on the line. The danger wasn't gone and Cox had another
go but fired over the bar. Soon though he was back on the ball and
again Jimmy Cox simply tricked Holder off balance and then tore
past him, motoring into wide open space before wellying the ball
with some glee past Sawyer and into the net. It was the least he
deserved for his displays in the last two games.
Ciren's manager doesn't seem to really know how to handle players,
and the poor defeated and humiliated Ollie Holder must have been
delighted aat seeing his embarassment complete with an immediate
substitution, just to make sure the hard of understanding understood
it was all his fault. The player trudged straight into the dressing
room, doubtless to start looking for something better to do with
his Saturday afternoons next year.
T-Ender Match Snaps
|Mustoe brings the ball forward as Ciren
cower for cover.
||Hamblin smacks the ball against the
|It all gets a bit busy as Richards mixes
it with his former colleagues.
|| Sawyer loses his bearings as Welsh
reaches a second half corner.
Ciren keeper Kevin Sawyer questioned on why he returned to the
club from last season's champions Salisbury: "I really don't
Only one stat matters today: City are safe from relegation with
the total of 52 points now mathematically securing safety with
four games remaining. Safety last season was also finally secured
on Easter Monday, against Halesowen at Meadow Park, but that was
with just two games remaining and saw us reaching a lower ally
of 49 points.