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Dev Squad win through after penalty shoot out

Highmoor Ibis 2 Cirencester Town 2

Cirencester 4 Highmoor 2 after penalties

Cirencester Town Development squad travelled to Reading on Saturday to face top of the Premier Leaague Highmoor Ibis in the 1st round of the BlueFin Insurance Challege Cup. The very experienced Highmoor team had beaten our lodgers Wootton Basset 3 - 1 on Wednesday and have pace and strength throughout the team.
With the addition of Aidan Bennett and Brad Hooper but without Jack Smith, this was a strong looking development team who were determined to put on a good show and right from the kick off they attacked and had a couple of early chances before Highmoor really got going. However, as had been the case a few times this season, they were 1 down early when on 11 minutes a long throw caused a moment of confusion in defence and Highmoor scored. This was compounded when the referee made the first of many bizarre decisions and awarded Highmoor a soft penalty. 15 minutes in and 2 down once again.
So far this season resilience had been the watchword for this team and they don't get disheartened very easily and on the 17th minute Shane Bumphrey was awarded a penalty which he converted, 2 - 1.
Dunton waits for the ball to drop watched by O'Brien   Davidge stopped in his tracks
The game became one of attack and counter-attack with both sides creating chance after chance. Liam O'Brien, Bennett, Bumphrey and Kyle Pitts all had efforts go wide and Adam Clatworthy was called upon to make several saves. In the 45th minute Ciren were awarded a corner which Brad Hooper whipped in and after a 6 yard game of ping pong Bumphrey bundled the ball home to make it 2 - 2 at half-time. This was a significent  milestone for the striker making it 50 goals in 42 appearances.

The second half became something of a Ciren show with Danny Gudger running one side of the pitch while Jacob Davidge ran the other and the chances soon started to arrive with Bumphrey, looking for his hat-trick, possibly trying a little too hard. O'Brien and Hooper ran the midfield while Ellis Dunton and Tom Luce stopped anything getting near Clatworthy.

Chances came for Bumphrey - just wide, Hooper - tipped over by the keeper, Dunton - headed over, Dunton again - shot inches wide, Davidge - headed away, Bumphrey again - hit defender. However Clatters had to be very alert when on 85 minutes Highmoor had their first real effort of the half and in the dying seconds the Highmoor keeper  denied Bumphrey.

With the match going into extra time things got a little odd when the Highmoor Captain and defender left to go to work and the manager had to put himself on. Young Robbie James, who had come on in place of Gudger, was now under pressure from an obviously wiley old pro who was both big and strong and he did so admirably and at no time did he appear flustered, not even when he was felled and a Highmoor player deliberatly ran over him.

Injury time in these games often turns into a dire affair with neither team wanting to loose rather than going out to win but that was not the case here as in the first half Ciren dominated and in the second Highmoor dominated. But as neither team could capitalise on their dominance penalties became the order of the day.

Ciren took the first penalty which Davidge converted, Highmoor scored 1 - 1

Second penalty converted by Luce, Highmoor scored 2 - 2

Third penalty Hooper scored, Highmoor saved by Clatters - advantage Ciren 3 - 2

Fouth penalty Bumphrey scored, Highmoor high wide and handsome Ciren win 4 - 2

Clatters goes the right way for the 2nd   Jed the unsung member of the team

This was a very good game to watch played in the right spirit by both teams. The Development Squad goes from strength to strength and yet again proved they are not push overs and will not be bullied by more senior teams, and that they can fight back from early set backs.

Liam O'Brien was Man of the Match

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