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Yeovil Town 1 Cirencester Town 2 - A Long Match Report!

FA Youth Cup Second Round Proper
Wednesday 19 November 2008, 7.45pm ko

Yeovil Town  1    Cirencester Town  2

This was all done proper posh as befits a Football League Club. Lovely, slightly domed, pitch all green and glistening under proper lights. Stewards with radios. Seats, rows and rows of them. And Mr Lowndes had booked a 53 seater and filled it, bringing all the squads in the Academy.

More than a few Ciren fans had travelled independently and of course they all know each other so there were clusters of them up one side of the main stand. Rachael Flanaghan sat in splendid isolation in the Away Directors box possibly wondering where the rest of the posh folk were while John McL and I stood in front of the Montacute Box. Very smart.

Lined up in the tunnel then coming out for that line up then handshaking thing, the thought crosses your mind that those lads in green are also in the Football League mould. Huge keeper, three at the back all big, towering lads and those squat, thick thighed mid fielders that tell you here is a team that will play by standing strong and getting their shoulder in. The red and black looked different, more lithe than bulky.

Thing is, it is a simple game if you play it right. Control the ball first time, pass it to somebody in space, use pace to make sure that space is yours. Sure, you have to win your headers and tackles. And don't welly your possession away. Most important, it is eleven on each team so if one team has the ball then the other team can't play with it.

Ciren looked a bit nervy at the off. Started slowly, then seemed a bit surprised, annoyed even. When the first four or five times they were getting onto a ball sent past the Yeovil player the opponent 'leant on', ever so subtly, and eased the red and black off the ball. When Yeovil had the ball they zipped it neat and crisp up to a very good front man in Stephen Friend, who laid off and spun to go for the return. It looked like this would be a long night.

It had Adam Corcoran and Steve Groom working hard to contain the Yeovil thrusts, competing for but not always winning their defensive headers. But, very noticeable, they were well organised in their defensive cover and calm, confident and easy on the ball as they collected and passed out again.

Yeovil worked the right side of the Ciren defence, little Michael Matyaba all quick feet and neat angled passes. He was giving Zak Westlake something to think about with Harry Montacute (now there is a very traditional Yeovil surname) producing some lovely cushioned return passes to send Stephen Friend racing into the channels before being efficiently slowed and cut off by Corky..

Harry Nodwell had the first attempt on goal on 8 minutes, taking the ball inside Zak on the edge of the box but then hurrying his shot when Jamie Moore appeared as if from nowhere to force him to screw well wide. Although it looked as though Yeovil had dominance, the reality was they had not managed to force their way through. Or pass their way through.

When Ciren had the ball they were now feeding Jake Lloyd and Dan Franklin out wide and Yeovil were starting to concede free kicks. Tom Scott discovered that the 'lean on the player to keep him away from the ball trick' does not work so well when the Ciren player has been sent up at him at pace and then ups the pace even more to go scorching away on the outside. Dan Franklin was giving Scott a hard time and the lad was not getting the cover inside him.

Robert Hoskin, scurrying away with Max Etheridge up front, was starting to connect with passes into space as Jamie Moore and James Turner moved quickly to control and even more quickly to pass well. Hoskin has that ability to switch on his afterburners and seem to run under the defenders legs to get to the ball. Big tall Jason Sangha had been winning everything in the air but, pacy as he was himself, he was now having to make some last moment interceptions to stop Hosky getting away. The match had moved up to the other end of the pitch.

A nice bit of interplay between James Turner, always offering in support in this match, and Dan Franklin had Rob Hoskin collecting in the box and turning away from Julio Barnes. A little nudge on his back, unseen and subtle, sent him stumbling and the ball was out of control. Barnes wellied it straight down the pitch, long and hard. Corcoran and Groom only had Stephen Friend against them but he was haring after the ball and it was dropping into that awkward gap between them.

Into the mix came Adam Miller, racing out of goal and now 40 yards from his line. When Adam comes he is blistering quick and does not hesitate. His teammates know that and know that it is now his ball so get out of his way to let him deal with it. Except this time it is all too frantic and he does not. Stephen Friend stays aware, connects, controls instantly and calmly strokes the ball over acres of green empty grass into the net for the opener on 17 minutes.

Maybe Yeovil thought game over? Maybe they thought lets try that long ball a few more times? But they then overhit far too many. And those they did land in the proper zone were met by a red and black shirt making sure that Josh Robinson would not get the flick on. Yeovil had stopped bringing the ball down and passing it. While, almost as if a switch had been flicked, the Ciren midfield were now playing to feet up front and exploiting the ability of Max Etheridge to keep the ball and set up the support runners.

The match was again being played in the Yeovil final third with a lot of the midfield second ball being gobbled up by Jamie Moore and James Turner. 25 minutes gone Franklin forced the first corner of the match, fired in a superb cross landing 8 yards out and Jamie Beale came all the way out, into the mix with all the defenders around him, and tipped the ball away. Suddenly, it was Yeovil who were edgy as Hoskin started to run Jason Sangha all over the edge of the box.

Forced into conceding another corner on 28 minutes, he must have switched off. When the cross this time was placed 5 yards off the near post Robert Hoskin had darted to meet it unmarked and lifted the ball with his head over the defenders with the keeper also fatally coming to meet it, too late. Slowly, surely, with a growing roar from the Ciren fans the ball looped up and dropped neatly into the back of the net. Those big stand roofs sure produce an echo when you give it a shout. Nice sound, that one.

Two minutes later Hoskin should have done better when Ciren worked the ball calmly upfield. Zak Westlake controlled a lay back from Dan Franklin to find Max Etheridge inside, coming off Julio Barnes. Lovely, controlled first touch put the already moving Hoskin into space 18 yards out. Needed a touch – done. Needed setting – not done. Hosky had a slash and sent the ball slicing horribly wide when 9 times out of 10 he hits the bottom corner.

Julio Barnes was not having an easy night coping with the elusive Etheridge, and injured himself when he had to make a block at full stretch to stop him getting clear in the box. Replaced after treatment, Yeovil seemed to spend too much time trying to work out how to set up their defence in the absence of one of their rocks. And started to unravel while Ciren upped the pressure, pace and accuracy of their attacks.

Jamie Moore was now bossing the match, with James Turner doing his panto wizard trick of seeming to appear out of a trap door in the ground to receive the ball and move it on. Liam Williams was constantly offering up the left to support Jake Lloyd and when Ciren won yet another corner on 38 minutes he stayed up to add his height to the attack.

This time Beale punched another superbly placed cross from Franklin, the ball dropped to the edge of the box and Moore controlled. Stepped inside, went left and was really going nowhere when Harry Nodwell (I think it was 8) dived in. Clear penalty and Jamie Moore buried it confidently inside the right hand post. Cue that very loud noise again.

It was obvious that Yeovil would up their game second half. But they did it with an increasingly futile barrage in the air. Ciren coped as if it was a routine training exercise, slotting the covering defender in and the key defender making the challenge with both Liam and Zak shifting across to provide the out ball option or the cover across defender. Much as Stephen Friend worked hard to find space, his teammates could go no further than one more move before the ball came back to Ciren.

Ciren too were slinging balls down the channels, the difference being that Ciren were better able to hold the ball up and keep possession. Slowly but surely the Yeovil defence were edging backwards. Beale made a very good stop when on 76 minutes Max Etheridge skipped outside Sangha in the corner of the area then zipped a stinger for the far post. Twice Beale bravely came out to gather smart crosses from Dan Franklin, zipped across his six yard box with Hoskin coming in to meet it.

It felt as though Ciren were boring the match to a conclusion, attacking when the opportunity presented itself but otherwise content to mop up the barrage. Always a bit risky when there is but one goal in it, and although Yeovil were displaying an alarming lack of urgency or ideas, there is always a chance.

Two then three long throw ins looped in and were cleared until on 80 minutes Harry Nodwell had a clear header at a free kick but put the ball, one bounce, into Adam Millers hands. Anywhere else and it would have been 2 – 2. But, remarkably, that header and the goal in the first half were the only efforts Yeovil had put on target all match. Not one shot second half tells it all.

A flurry of substitutes, with James Turner and Dan Franklin coming off to merited applause before Jake Lloyd followed them a minute later, saw the match drift to an end and then it was sandwiches (sandwiches? after a 100 mile journey? That was not very Football League when you think our League requires a hot meal for visitors) then the weary journey home and Sunderland away next up.

Yeovil Town: Jamie Beale, Daniel Thompson [Lloyd Moyce 70], Tom Scott, Julio Barnes [Adam Wakeley 35], Jason Sangha (c), Harry Montacute, Ashley Clarke [Elliot Peck 70], Harry Nodwell, Josh Robinson, Stephen friend, Michael Matyaba
subs: Lewis Corrie, Joe Butcher

Cirencester Town: Adam Miller, Zak Westlake, Liam Williams, Jamie Moore (c), Adam Corcoran, Steve Groom, Dan Franklin [Ryan Thomas 82], James Turner [Ben Jones 82], Max Etheridge, Robert Hoskin, Jake Lloyd [Tom Russell 85]
subs: Dean Hobbis, Ethan Delaney

Ref: Mr J Amey, Bournemouth     Did fine – did not appear to think the obstruction anything unusual early on. As Yeovil became visibly less able to cope with the Ciren pace and touch, the infringements became much more obvious and he whistled many more of them.

Att: 144    

Ciren MoM: Could have picked any of them but went for James Turner because, while he did nothing spectacular, he did a lot of the down and dirty fetching and carrying that keeps possession for the team.

Ian S

This entry was posted on 20 November 2008 at 00:00. You can leave a response here.

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