FAIRFORD Town returned to winning ways with a 5-3 away win at Purton, but it was far from easy as they fought off a determined fightback from the hosts to take the points.
Gareth Davies made two changes to the visitors’ line-up with Steve Hall and Dan Drewett coming into the line-up following Tuesday’s defeat at Letcombe which ended a long unbeaten league run stretching back to August. Both players were quickly into the game in front of a bumper New Year’s Eve crowd at The Red House.
Josh Morse struck the opener as a poor clearance found the Fairford striker, who curled an effort into the empty net from all of 35-yards on the angle.
The second goal followed on 13 minutes with Aaron Stevens blocking Lee Smith’s shot, only for the ball to loop up and over ‘keeper Max Scholefield. A wicked deflection but it sent the Gloucestershire side into the ascendancy early on.
Fairford were forced into an early chance with Luke Cordery making way with what looked like a hamstring injury 21 minutes in, with Scott Chilcott stepping off the bench in his place.
A superb team move saw Levi Cox head home from close range on 29 minutes, following excellent build up play from Smith and Morse. Fairford had found their groove and Smith hammered home the fourth on 42 minutes after neat interplay from Sean Wood and Cox.
The 4-0 half-time scoreline had entertained the good crowd, many of whom were groundhoppers making their way to Wootton Bassett in time for a 3pm kick-off. There was further second half entertainment with another four goals.
Joe Hiscock headed home the first of Purton’s response on 64 minutes with the home side rallying well. Smith then collected a ball through from Morse to make it 5-1 on 67 minutes in what looked like being the finishing touches to a comprehensive win for the away side.
However, the game had plenty of life left and when substitute Peter McGunigall thundered home an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box on 84 minutes, the home crowd urged their side on for more.
Fellow substitute Joe Herbert rifled home his side’s third goal just a minute later, but that was the final act of a what had been a fine afternoon’s action for those watching on.
Fairford end the year in second spot with a game in hand on leaders Hook Norton, as Abingdon United visit Cinder Lane for the first action of 2017 on Saturday 7th January (3pm).
F/T: Purton 3 Fairford Town 5
Fairford Town: Mitchell; Cordery (Chilcott ’21), Dainton, Ockwell, Hall; Drewett (Saunders ’75), Boucher, Wood (Blackford), Smith; Morse, Cox