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Uhlsport Hellenic Football League Division 2
West

Highworth Town 1 – 1 Cirencester Town

Match Report by
A Smith


Cirencester travelled to Highworth on a cold and clear night, perfect conditions for this top of the table clash. Clive and Gavin had a strong squad to choose from with all players available.

The game started at a furious pace and the first 10 minutes were fairly even with both teams committed to attacking, Highworth up and Cirencester down the slope. Neither team really threatened the other’s goal until a silly free kick was given away by Cirencester which was headed into the Cirencester goal by Terry More in the 18th minute.

The pressure was now all on the Highworth goal with Cirencester team beginning to dominate possession with their first real chance falling to Jack Smith in the 29th minute when he meet Joe Shepherd’s cross only to see the keeper make the save. Barely a minute later the same combination had a shot blocked.

The game settled into one of sustained Cirencester pressure but there was no end result.

Half time – Highworth 1 Cirencester 0

The second half started much the same as the first finished and Clive soon made a tactical substitution bringing in Scott Hubard for Jack Smith in the 49th minute. The game flowed more uphill than down with the youngsters from Cirencester pushing to get the equalizer. Shepherd missed a Nathan Hawkins cross by inches. Olly Pitt (coming back from his nose operation) floated a free kick just wide, Shane Bumphrey had a good cross met by Shepherd only to see it blocked at the post, which resulted in Bumphrey going close from the corner. Liam O’Brien had a shot taken off his toe by team mate Tim Bond, all of this in a frantic 15 minutes with the Cirencester defence holding firm and dealing with everything Highworth tried to do to get their second.

The ever increasing amount of pressure was rewarded when Pitt was brought down when clean through and Bumphrey scored the penalty in the 69th minute. Despite this being a hard fought game it was played in a fair manner up till this point. The tackle that brought Pitt down saw the defender given his second yellow card and therefore sent off, he chased Bumphrey to confront him, was seen to throw a punch and tried to head-butt him, this was completely out of context with the game and could have seen the game descend into a “scrap”. It is to the credit of both teams that this didn’t happen.

Cirencester had two more chances to get the victory they probably deserved when Bind was put through by Hubard to side footed the ball just over the bar, and when Pitt put Shepherd through who seemed to scuff the ground before he shot, there were shouts for a penalty but it wasn't given.

The game ended on a slightly sour note when Liam James was given a second yellow for a professional foul on a Highworth forward who nmanaged to break through the Cirencester defence.

Despite the referee giving 7 yellow cards and sending 2 players off this was a match between two evenly matched teams and was generally played in the right manner.

Final score 1 – 1

The development squad’s next match is next Tuesday away at Kidlington in the Chairman’s Reserve Challenge Cup

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