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Villagers suffer late agony at leaders Town

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

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BATTLING Bishop's Cleeve were denied a priceless point at league leaders Hungerford Town, as the Crusaders struck late to deny the Villagers a deserved draw.

With the thaw arriving in time to get the Bulpit Lane pitch playable, the high-flying hosts eventually took advantage to move eight points clear of rivals Poole Town, who have eight games in hand.

Unsurprisingly on a surface that was showing the effects of the weather-battering it had received in the week prior to the game, neither side was able to gain control of the game in the first half.

The youthful Villagers were determined and excellent in their endeavour to close down their high-flying hosts and deny them any worthwhile possession.

A speculative lob from Mark Hughes was somehow scrambled to safety by Jimmy Nortei and former Forest Green Rovers man Ben Pugh twice broke clear but failed to deliver.

Lee Davis forced Paul Strudley into a superb save from a free-kick in the early moments of the second half as the Villagers mounted a rare attack.

Nortei denied Alan O'Brien with another smart save and the same player set up substitute Bradley Gray for another chance which was squandered.

But Gray made amends with just eight minutes remaining, glancing a header from a Gary Horgan free-kick over the helpless Nortei.

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