SOUTHERN LEAGUE: Champagne is on ice for Cirencester
5:30am Tuesday 22nd April 2014 in By Michael Reeves, Deputy sports editor
CIRENCESTER Town put one hand on the Southern League Division One South & West title following their 2-1 win over Shortwood United.
Brian Hughes’ side went into this Gloucestershire derby clash knowing that a win, coupled with a defeat for Merthyr Town, would have seen them crowned champions in front of their own fans at the Corinium Stadium.
However, the Welsh outfit ran out 1-0 winners against Evesham United to take the title race down to the final day of the campaign.
The Centurions know that avoiding defeat at Yate Town will be enough to prevent the Martyrs, who at one stage held a 10-point lead the summit, from winning the title at Thatcham Town on Saturday.
The day was also an emotional one for striker Jody Bevan as he played his final home match before he hangs up his goalscoring boots at the weekend.
Cirencester took the lead in the 26th minute when Lee Smith was hauled down in the Shortwood box and the former Forest Green Rovers winger got up to dispatch the spot-kick to net his 32nd goal of the season.
Leigh Henry doubled the Centurions’ lead early in the second half when Joe Shepherd knocked down Steve Davies’ free-kick into his path to score.
But Shortwood made it a nervy end to the match for Cirencester when Kevin Slack halved the deficit with only two minutes remaining.
Chippenham Town suffered a 3-2 defeat in the Premier Division in their final match at Hardenhuish Park this season.
Jake Harris put the Bluebirds into the lead late in the first half, before he struck again in stoppage time.
Stefan Brown pulled a goal back for the visitors shortly after the interval and then James Clark levelled with 15 minutes remaining.
Brown then put Hungerford into the lead 60 seconds later to snatch all three points from the Bluebirds’ grasp.
They also saw former Bluebirds midfielder Rob Dean presented with a cheque for £1,000 which was raised to help pay for his rehabilitation following a career-ending knee injury.