6:00am Monday 25th February 2013
By Ned Payne
FAIRFORD strengthened their case for third spot and did Wootton Bassett's promotion hopes a favour as they ran out 3-1 winners at Tytherington in Division One West.
Three first-half goals put the Cinder Lane side in control and despite conceding early in the second period, they gave themselves a fighting chance of holding onto third in the standings ahead of the Rocks.
Cameron McLarty handed Fairford a 1-0 lead before Henry Trass added a second following good work from McLarty.
Callum Parsons put away the third for the visitors thanks in no small measure to the play of frontman Alex Rudd.
Sam Taylor pulled a goal back for the hosts shortly after the interval, but Fairford held on to secure victory.
Fairford boss Paul Braithwaite said: "We said to the lads before the game that Tytherington would most likely start in a 4-4-2 and told them the way they were going to play. They came out flying, were physical and strong and made some big tackles.
"But to be fair to the lads they have learned to fight and play football. When they need grit they will give it but when they have the ball they play and enjoy themselves.
"When we were 2-0 up they changed to a 3-5-2 and we didn't even have to say anything to the lads.
"We got our third goal and that was a good lead but they scored eight minutes into the second half which made us a little bit nervous, but we showed grit and fight to see it out."
Braithwaite was delighted that his team had managed to secure such an impressive result against their rivals at the upper end of the table.
He said: "It's probably the proudest day that me and my assistant have had, even though Tytherington didn't play great, their manager said to me afterwards that we found them out.
"People have all said the same thing to us, that Fairford have been the surprise team in the league.
"If you had offered me fourth place at the start of the season I'd have snapped your hand off, third would be absolutely brilliant."
Elsewhere in the division, Purton secured a much-needed 2-0 win over North Leigh Reserves.
Cricklade shared a 1-1 draw with Clanfield while Lambourn clocked up the same result against Hook Norton.
In the Hellenic Premier, struggling Highworth lost 6-0 to league leaders Marlow with Ian Davies (2), Mark Bartley (2), Chris Ovenden and Marcus Mealing on the scoresheet.
Shrivenham had a weekend off from competitive action.
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