Rams boss celebrates perfect 40th birthday gift

Petersfield Town boss Ian Saunders Picture: Neil Marshall
Petersfield Town boss Ian Saunders Picture: Neil Marshall
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Petersfield Town gave manager Ian Saunders the perfect 40th birthday present by beating Cirencester Town 3-1 in the FA Cup second qualifying round.

It was a second major FA Cup scalp for the Rams who dumped another Southern League premier outfit, Weymouth, out in the previous round.

Saunders was full of praise for his cup battlers.

‘It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday,’ said Saunders.

‘We turned up and gave it a real good go to end up as fully deserved winners.

‘At half-time we led by a single goal but it could easily have been three.

‘After they equalised straight after half-time we rolled our sleeves up and went back at them.

‘Once we got back in front there was only ever going to be one winner.’

Joe Briggs gave the Rams a dream start, sliding the ball home at the back post from a left-footed Howard Neighbour cross.

With the front two of Neighbour and Mike Gibson terrorising the visitors’ defence, more goals looked on the cards.

But the home side were made to pay for a series of missed chances at the start of the second half when Cirencester levelled from a well-worked free-kick to peg the them back.

The Rams, however, stuck to their guns and on 62 minutes Alex Przespolewski nodded a cross back into the danger area for Neighbour to score with a diving header.

Briggs sealed the win in the last minute when he cut inside from the left to slot the ball past the goalkeeper.

‘It is another fantastic result for the club and the furthest we have ever been in the competition,’ said Saunders.

‘The £4,500 for the win makes a big difference financially to a club of our stature.

‘There is also the prestige of still being in the competition.’

The Rams have little time to bask in their cup glory as they visit Beaconsfield SYCOB in the league tonight.