Cinderford 0 Winchester 0
Winchester's hopes of the playoffs were ended when they drew 0-0 with Cinderford which was the fifth time in six matches that a game between Winchester and Cinderford has finished all square. It was also Winchester's first goalless draw in the league this season and you have in fact got to go back to the 2016/17 season when Winchester's home games with Bideford and Larkhall finished goalless for a 0-0 draw involving the Citizens in league combat. Cinderford as a result of the draw qualify for the last playoff place and they will play away to Cirencester on Wednesday with a place in the playoff final at stake.
However it was a good effort by the Citizens who had a good travelling support with seven banners behind the goal they were attacking and after the game every single player shook hands with every supporter who congregated there as a great gesture.
Both teams went into the match on a good run of results having leapfrogged Evesham as the sole contenders for the final playoff place.
Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up from Monday while Cinderford fielded striker James Harding who on Saturday had scored five goals in helping his team beat his former club Yate 5-1. Early in proceedings Pryce just beat Harding to the ball, but generally the first half was devoid of goalmouth action with the nearest we came to a goal being an effort from Jake Rawkins that hit the post towards the end of the half. Apart from that both goalkeepers had routine saves to make and both sides had shots on goal that were off target.
In the second half Cinderford's Blaine Waugh headed just over and came close on another occasion. Winchester bought on Tyrell Mitford for Jake Rawkins, and Alex Harris in the Cinderford goal had to dive at the feet of Oli Bailey. Cinderford though were generally solid at the back and a lot of height to assist them keep Winchester out, but as the half progressed Winchester began to exert more pressure and only a last ditch header conceded at the expense of a corner kept them out.
Simba Mlambo who had an excellent game hit the inside of the post, but the ball stayed out. Although Matt Macdonald shot just wide for Cinderford the closing stages of the match saw Winchester have a free kick in a dangerous position and several corners with goalkeeper Ryan Pryce going up for all of these, but in the end although they ensured the result of the game and the destiny of their season remained unknown until the final kick of the season they could not quite do enough.
However Winchester's record of 21 wins, 70 points and a goal difference of +38 is better than 7 of the 28 step 4 teams who made the playoffs and of those who failed to qualify for the playoffs only Runcorn L with 22 wins and 72 points have a better record, but they are unable to match Winchester's goal difference.