Hunt returns to inspire triumph against leaders
MANGOTSFIELD United put the midweek defeat at Paulton Rovers firmly behind them with a fine all-round team performance to beat table-toppers Hungerford Town.
The league leaders arrived at Cossham Street having scored ten goals in the previous two league fixtures, but they were undone by Ben Hunt's goal on 18 minutes.
It was a lead Mangotsfield defended without too many alarms despite Hungerford enjoying good spells of possession particularly in the second half.
Mangotsfield's team showed two changes from New Year's Day. Lee Marshall and Hunt returned from injury in place of Todd Winter, who was ruled out with groin injury, and Josh Klein Davies.
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Hungerford started brightly and created the first chance of the match on four minutes, the ball being worked in from the left to Luke Brewer whose strike from 20 yards was straight at Kevin Sawyer.
Seven minutes later, a misplaced Mangotsfield pass was intercepted and the ball was squared inside for Mark Draycott, who ballooned over from just outside the area.
The home side's first opportunity came on 13 minutes as Hunt received the ball 20 yards out and fired in a low shot which went just wide.
Hungerford escaped when failing to deal with a free-kick delivered deep into the penalty area. The ball bounced towards Matt Thorne, who stretched but failed to make contact with a close-range volley.
Within a minute Mangotsfield were ahead, though, as Thorne's through-ball picked out Hunt who ran clear of the Hungerford rearguard to calmly lift the ball over the advancing Alex Tokarczyk.
Hungerford retaliated through a free-kick from Ben Pugh that was straight at Sawyer. Then Luke Hopper's 25-yard volley was held by the home keeper. At the other end Hungerford again looked uneasy when defending a free-kick played into the heart of the area. Thorne flicked the ball towards the far post for Shaun Lamb, who arrived late and just failed to make contact.
Mangotsfield were forced into making a change on 38 minutes, Tom Parrinello being replaced by Mike Whittington after appearing to pick up an ankle injury.
Hungerford should have levelled just before the break when captain Matt Day met a free-kick unmarked only to head wide from close range.
The first chance of the second half fell to Mangotsfield as a ball into the Hungerford box was headed down for Whittington, but the ball was cleared to safety as he was about the pull the trigger.
Sawyer remained well protected in the Mangotsfield goal as Hungerford struggled to create clear-cut openings.
A second change for Mangotsfield came with 20 minutes remaining. A change of formation followed the introduction of Kyle Thomas for Marcus Duharty, the home side opting for an extra man in midfield with Hunt operating as a lone striker.
Mangotsfield could have been given breathing space on 78 minutes when a Thorne corner was met by Hunt with a glancing header that flashed inches wide.
Moments later, Tokarczyk's poor clearance allowed Kyle Tooze to send in a shot that went well wide.
In the final minute, Sawyer was called upon to save at his near post from visiting substitute Harry Goodger who drilled in a hopeful low effort from wide on the left.