CIRENCESTER Town found Kayne McLaggon too hot to handle in their top-of-the-table clash at Merthyr Town.
The Centurions travelled to South Wales hoping to climb to the summit of Division One South and West on goal difference jumping above their Welsh hosts.
However, on the 3G surface at Penydarren Park, McLaggon had other ideas.
The former Southampton youngster headed the Martyrs into a third minute lead when he connected with Ian Traylor’s cross.
In a full-bloodied contest, Brian Hughes’ men were not giving an inch in the opening 45 minutes and drew level on 16 minutes.
Following a series of corners, central defender Mark Pritchett forced the ball home for the visitors.
Lee Smith could have put Ciren into the lead two minutes later when he broke clear, however, he dragged his shot wide.
With the number of fouls increasing, the hosts forced Glyn Garner into action when Jarrad Wright got his head to a free-kick, before Traylor drew a full length save from Garner – a fomer Wales international – on the stroke of half-time.
McLaggon forced the ball into the net seconds after the break, but the striker had his effort ruled out after straying offside.
The Centurions never really got going in the second period as the table-toppers looked to press home their advantage.
But Merthyr had to wait until the final five minutes to seal victory.
Ciren’s Shayne Anson, who had been booked on the hour mark, brought down the dangerous McLaggon in the area and the dangerous hitman got up and tucked away the penalty.
Less than a minute later, the ex-Wales under 19s striker broke the Cirencester resistance with his and his team’s third of the match.
The win moved the hosts six points clear at the summit, but Hughes’ men do have three games in hand on the Welsh outfit.