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Academy Win Thriller On Penalties At Didcot

FA Youth Cup 1st Round Proper,  Thursday 6 November 20008

Didcot Town 2 Cirencester Town 2 (aet) Cirencester win 3 – 1 on penalties

Two very good teams went at it hammer and tongs at the Loop Meadow, both at times gaining the upper hand, as they battled out this enthralling match.

Steve Lowndes and Sean Wimble, the Ciren management pair, somewhere have the magic touch that wins matches. Their youngsters twice took the lead only to concede a penalty in the 90th minute of normal time. Instead of dropping their heads, their team stayed strong, saw two good chances in extra time saved by the Didcot keeper but buried all of their penalties in a final shoot-out while Didcot only scored once in 4 attempts from the spot.

Cirencester, over the course of the 2 hours, forced the Railwaymen 'keeper Tom Bucknor to seven good saves. But, apart from a brief first half period and then towards the later part of the match, they were chasing in midfield as a very impressive Didcot used the ball well and kept the pressure on the Ciren back line.

James Mackay and Tim Doran for the home team not only found space, they also controlled the ball first time and picked their passes well. Time after time Liam Williams and Adam Corcoran had to use all their skill and determination to keep a very lively Didcot attack, in which Dom Barnes was well nigh unstoppable, at bay.

That the pair restricted Didcot to very few chances speaks volumes about the quality of their concentration and commitment. Ably supported by the rampaging Zak Westlake and the cool Craig Mooney, the central defensive pair just about kept Adam Bruce and Luke Ingram outside their penalty area and restricted them to very few direct chances on goal.

At the other end Didcot, early on, had no idea about how to keep the mercurial James Guthrie and the free running Dan Franklin in check. Max Etheridge and the dangerous Robert Hoskin were plied with inviting passes but each time they got a sight of goal a Didcot defender managed to get himself in the way and block.

On 28 minutes the Ciren pressure brought results. Franklin was sent away on the right and he picked out Max Etheridge, cleverly pulling away from the defence to the edge of the box. He met the ground pass first time with his left boot and guided the ball into the corner of the net from 18 yards.

Within a few minutes Didcot had equalised, Tim Doran coming to meet a Luke Ingram cross from the right and beating Adam Miller to the ball to nod home. [I knew it was the 6 that scored .. really must get this tired brain seen to. But when I checked somebody said it was 9. Maybe the lad's number had been upside down as he did a cartwheel of delight?! Thanks to the excellent Didcot site for the updated info. They of course know their team by sight, as we do our team]

Anyways, cock-a-hoop, Didcot piled into the attack and Ciren had all on to contain them. That they did, coolly and with a lot of control, speaks volumes for their understanding of how to play football when faced with a very good team.

Within 5 minutes of the restart, Ciren should have been punished when Dom Barnes got himself free at the back post only for his return cross to be smacked against the bar by Bruce. A real midfield battle ensued, with James Mackay and Tim Doran doing their best to send Didcot clear with clever, accurate passing that was just about contained by a very impressive Ciren defence.

After the hour mark, while never really outpassing Didcot, Ciren had got themselves back into the match by sheer determination. Rob Hoskin, injured early on, had been restricted in his attempts to get away on goal and was replaced just before the hour by the ever willing Ethan Delaney to pair up with Max Etheridge up front.

Crisp attacking moves through their flank men Dan Franklin and James Guthrie kept Ciren threatening. As Didcot pressed for a winner Ciren increasingly exploited the gaps on counterattack. Twice, three, then four times, Tom Bucknor was swiftly out of his goal to block shots though he was helpless when Ethan Delaney hit the woodwork.

Ciren had to be careful and very nearly paid the price on 72 minutes. Dom Barnes, by some margin the best player on the park in a match of good players on both sides, got himself free on the back post only to see Bruce hit the Ciren bar when Barnes returned the ball into the middle.

Bucknor produced very crisp stops to deny Max Etheridge, then Ethan Delaney and then James Guthrie as slowly but surely Ciren upped the pressure on the Didcot defence in the final 15 minutes. But he again had the woodwork to thank when Dan Franklin finished off a sweeping move with a perfectly placed shot as he ran on to collect a sublime pass from James Guthrie.

Eheridge could have settled the tie for Ciren within 3 minutes of extra time, running clear onto a perfectly weighted pass by Jamie Moore but then slicing wide. Within two minutes Max had atoned, cleverly flicking the ball back inside from outside the far post for Ethan Delaney to drive firmly into the net from 12 yards.

Cirencester had chances to clinch the result, Jamie Moore cleverly making himself space on 111 minutes only for the bar to send his shot bouncing away. A minute later Bucknor again was in the right place when he collected an Etheridge header off a Guthrie cross without really knowing much more about it.

With Didcot piling on the pressure in the final minutes, the Ciren defence looked to be containing them well. But, when Guthrie was barged off the ball wide out, Didcot sent the loose ball straight down the middle and Bruce, scooting through, was clipped by a desperate defender.

Mike Hopkins calmly buried the penalty to Adam Miller's right on 119 minutes. A minute later Didcot could have won it when Barnes, cool and composed, collected a panicky Ciren clearance and drove in from 12 yards. Somehow, Ciren blocked and the match went to penalties.

Adam Miller had to make the first stop and did so, this time getting down to and pushing wide the fierce shot from Mike Hopkins. Barnes buried Didcot's second penalty, though Miller got his fist to it only for the ball to rebound into the top corner. Meanwhile, first skipper Jamie Moore then Liam Williams had calmly buried their efforts for Ciren.

When Bruce blasted over the top for Didcot the pressure was on James Guthrie but, cool as you like, he planted his effort firmly past Bucknor to put Ciren 3 – 1 ahead. Tim Doran had to keep Didcot in the shoot-out but his firm piledriver for the post was met by an equally determined dive by Miller. His save sent him roaring down the pitch, outpacing everybody before he was finally caught 100 yards way and buried under a mass of delighted team mates.

Didcot: Tom Bucknor, Sam Dickens [Dan Stanley 80], Mike Hopkins (c), James Mackay [Josh Haynes 114], Matt Midwinter, Tim Doran, Luke Ingram, Sam Bishop, Adam Bruce, Dom Barnes, Harry Halls [Tom Peace 45]
subs: Jack Rowe, Dan Joyce

Cirencester: Adam Miller, Zak Westlake, Craig Mooney, Jamie Moore (c), Liam Williams, Adam Corcoran, Dan Franklin, James Turner [Jake Lloyd 73], Max Etheridge, Rob Hoskin [Ethan Delaney 54], James Guthrie
subs: Dean Hubbis, Ryan Thomas, Liam McCormick

ref: Mr A Fielding
Att: 126
MoM: Adam Corcoran (Cirencester)


This entry was posted on 07 November 2008 at 00:00. You can leave a response here.

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