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The Gloucestershire FA Senior Challenge Trophy

Bristol Rovers 3 - 1 Cirencester Town


Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


Cirencester Town Football Club had two GFA Cup matches on Tuesday – the First Team away to Bristol Rovers in the Senior Challenge Trophy and the Development Team at home to Hellenic League Premier Division Slimbridge in the Challenge Trophy. 

As a number of players would struggle to arrive at the appropriate venue to take a place alongside their usual team-mates Managers Hughes and Messenger decided that they would mix the teams.

As a result the team to play Bristol Rovers had some new faces with Dan Hill and Dan Roberts in the starting eleven and Aaron Perry on the bench. Joe Shepherd returned after his suspension and Dean Bromley and Jody Bevan made their first competitive start of the season.

Rovers kicked off on a magnificent lush green pitch on a cool evening and were soon on the attack in what was to become a familiar pattern for the match.

The Bristol side were comfortable on the ball and willing to pass it back and forth to draw Cirencester on to them creating space for their movement to exploit. Within a few minutes they had the first opportunity when a cross from the left wing reached the back post where Alefe Santos stretched to meet it but with minimum contact it went behind for a goal kick without troubling visiting ‘keeper Glyn Garner.

Cirencester countered with a move of their own down the right flank as Ellis Dunton fed Joe Shepherd and following a strong run his cross was cleared to create a counter attack down the Cirencester right flank. The cross was headed over by Seanan Clucas.

In the 16th minute Rovers opened their account with a neat move as Santos was supplied the ball on their right flank – he made ground before slipping the ball inside to Ellis Harrison, on the right edge of the penalty area, who was alert to the supporting run from Seanan Clucas - just inside and behind him. Harrison laid the ball into the path of Clucas who drove it inside the far left post.   1 – 0.

Six minutes later Cirencester were awarded a corner on their left flank which Dean Bromley drove hard and low to the edge of the penalty area, left of centre, where Steve Davies immediately fired in a rasping shot that was initially blocked and eventually put out for a right wing throw-in, in line with the penalty spot.  Ellis Dunton moved across from his position at left back to launch one of his trademark long throws to the edge of the 6 yard box where Dean Bromley met it with his head but ‘keeper Conor Gough caught it comfortably.

Just on the half hour Santos tried a speculative attempt at goal from approximately 35 yards but it cleared the bar.

Not to be outdone Cirencester’s Dan Roberts almost immediately also tried a long range effort, from some 30 yards, left of centre, which went wide of the right hand post.  This was quickly followed by move involving Dean Bromley and Steve Davies, which ended with a Dan Hill shot that was saved.

This flurry of Cirencester action prompted a reaction from Rovers who increased their lead in the 32nd minute with a quick interchange of passes between Harrison and Clucas, on the left side of the visitors penalty area, before reaching Oliver Norburn, just to the right of the penalty spot, and he wasted no time in blasting the ball into the back of the net.

In the closing moments of the half Harrison tried a pot at goal from 35 yards, with Garner off his line, but his effort was wide of the left post. 

In ‘added-time’ the hosts nearly increased their lead when Clucas found himself on the right edge of the 6 yard box , a sharp turn enabled him to square the ball back across the box to Harrison  at the far post but at full stretch he missed the chance and Garner was able to save at the second attempt.

Half Time:   2 - 0

Straight from the kick off Cirencester enjoyed possession that involved Shepherd, Dunton, Jody Bevan, Davies and Leigh Henry before the pass went astray to stop any threat.

Seven minutes in and Davies fed Bevan on the left edge of the home penalty area who instinctively turned and fired in a left footed shot that went wide of the near post.

A few minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick, some 30 yards out but centrally positioned, which Leigh Henry took and his powerful drive was tipped over the bar by Gough.

The resulting corner from the right was not caught cleanly at the back post as a number of players from both teams crowded the ‘keeper, enabling Ellis Dunton to volley the loose ball home in the 56th minute.  2 – 1.

Straight from the re-start Bristol mounted an attack down their left flank that led to them increasing their tally as a Shaquille Hunter cross was headed-in by Ellis Harrison. The ball entering the net just inside the right hand post. 3 – 1.

Undeterred Cirencester showed good spirit as they responded with Roberts finding Bromley whose shot was blocked for a right wing corner.  Dunton then had a shot blocked for a left wing corner but the danger was cleared.

Midway through the half and Davies received the ball in the centre circle – he then hit a superb pass to Dan Hill who cut in from the right wing to send in a left footed shot that just curled wide of the left post from 25 yards, from outside the right edge of the penalty area.

Shortly afterwards Jody Bevan struck a fierce right footed volley from the left edge of the penalty area that whistled over the bar.

In the 70th minute Aaron Perry replaced Ellis Dunton who appeared to be in some discomfort after landing on his left shoulder when tackling the advancing Santos inside the penalty area on the byeline, Santos fell on top of him in the challenge.

Joe Shepherd moved to left back and Perry took up a position in central midfield.

During the remaining twenty minutes Rovers created a number of opportunities down their left flank with Shaquille Hunter particularly prominent.

With eleven minutes remaining of normal time Rovers left back Jake Green started a run inside his own half and Cirencester kept backing off enabling him to travel some 40 yards before shooting wide of the left post from 25 yards.

In the final moments of the match Cirencester were awarded another free kick that Leigh Henry took from much the same position as the one previously mentioned and whilst he struck it well it was wide of the right hand post.


Final Score: 3 - 1


Bristol Rovers dominated play and looked too slick and strong for the Cirencester team in front of them but to their credit the visitors competed until the final whistle.


On the down side Ellis Dunton left the field clutching his shoulder and is unlikely to be available for the FA Cup tie against AFC Portchester on Saturday.

Attendance: 93

Bristol Rovers:

 1.   Conor Gough
2.   Josh Southway
3.   Jake Green
4.   Seanan Clucas 
5.   Pat Keary
6.   Trey Anderson    
7.   Oliver Norburn
8.   Matt Gill
9.   Ellis Harrison
10.  Alefe Santos
11.  Shaquille Hunter

12.  Danny Greenslade       (Shaquille Hunter-71mins)                          
14.  Aaron Ward-Baptiste  (Ellis Harrison-86mins)
15.  Dominic Thomas                 
16.  Jordan Goddard          (Seanan Clucas-60mins)
24.  Kieran Preston

Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner
2.   James Mortimer-Jones
3.   Ellis Dunton
4.   Dan Roberts
5.   Jon Beedon
6.   Leigh Henry     (C)
7.   Joe Shepherd
8.   Dean Bromley
9.   Jody Bevan
10.  Steve Davies
11.  Dan Hill

12.  Aaron Perry            (Ellis Dunton-70mins)

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