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The Calor League – Division One South & West

North Leigh 0 – 1 Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

What a difference a week makes!!!!!

After the disappointing performance a week ago in the midweek match at Clevedon, this week was the exact opposite as the Centurions visited Eynsham Park for a top-of-the-table clash with league leaders North Leigh.

The starting line-up had a couple of changes from the team that faced Thatcham at the weekend with Jamie Edge replacing Saturday’s Man-of-the-Match Brad Hooper (who took a seat on the bench) in midfield and Steve Davies replacing the injured Shane Bumphrey.  Davies took a position on the right flank and Aidan Bennett the central striker role.

The game was played at a fast and furious pace with little room or time on the ball before a challenge came in but such was the ability of the sides that the ball was moved around very swiftly with neat accurate passing.

North Leigh kicked off playing down the slope and immediately tried to get the ball behind the visitors defence but Cirencester showed they were up for the challenge by winning the ball and starting an attack of their own down their left flank.  It was a feature of the early exchanges that on receipt of the ball Ben Prictor would launch it into space down the line for the speedy Lee Smith and Aidan Bennett to latch onto.

Both defences were proving resolute and during the first twelve minutes the home side resorted to a couple of long range efforts as Morgan Williams and Stuart Hole took pots at goal from some 35 yards out – both wide of the right post.

Cirencester responded with an effort from similar distance from Sean Wood that went wide of the left post following a throw-in and neat turn on their left flank.

In the 17th minute Aidan Bennett collected a clearance, from a North Leigh right wing corner, on the centre edge of the visitor’s penalty and played a superb pass to Lee Smith on the left flank. Smith galloped down the wing before cutting-in and shooting from the left edge of the penalty area but his effort was blocked and another counter attack followed.

Just before the mid-point of the half Conor McDonagh took a shot from the centre of the pitch, 35 yards out, which Glyn Garner stooped to gather cleanly.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 31st minute when Aidan Bennett, who was a real hand-full for the home defence, latched on to a ball that broke to him just to the left of the penalty spot with bodies all around him.  Without delay he struck the ball with his left foot and it entered the net just inside the right post with ‘keeper Paul White unable to recover - having transferred his weight to his right side as he presumably thought this the more likely destination. 

Cirencester had the chance to increase their lead five minutes later when Bennett chased a ball down the right flank to the corner and drove in a powerful low cross that ‘keeper White could only dive and parry away from the waiting Lee Smith on the edge of the 6 yard box. 

The ball was loose with the ‘keeper down and Sean Wood, who had made a good supporting run to the edge of the penalty area, couldn’t believe his luck and in his excitement, with the goal at his mercy, he blazed it high over the bar with his left foot.

North Leigh had plenty of possession during the early stages of the game with no end product due to the stalwart defending of the visitors back five whilst Cirencester had proved dangerous on the break and were in the ascendancy during the latter part of the half.

Half Time:            0 – 1

The second half was eagerly awaited and it lived up to expectations.

As in the first half the action was immediate as the home side tried to get on level terms but Cirencester were creating good opportunities themselves through the busy Bennett.

In the 58th minute he received a neat ball from Jamie Edge and burst down the right edge of the penalty area and unleashed a cross-cum-shot to the far post that Lee Smith nearly reached before it was cleared.

Three minutes later he collected an Ellis Dunton clearance, left of centre, and after a few strides fired in a fierce low shot from some 35 yards towards the inside of the left post that White failed to gather and the ball went behind for a left wing corner.

North Leigh were awarded a free kick outside the left side of the penalty area that Stuart Hole took. Glyn Garner decided to punch the ball clear and as it dropped outside the right edge of the area (as viewed from a North Leigh perspective) Lee Smith completed the clearance to Bennett who made ground down the left before being stopped in his tracks by a strong tackle.

Smith was to follow up his good defensive work with a clever chip-shot a few minutes later from the left flank that White did well to tip wide of the far post for a right wing corner.

Not to be outdone Kieran Sanders struck a powerful shot wide of the left post from 30 yards out in the 81st minute and this was followed by a similar effort seven minutes later by  Wayne Turk.

During the latter period Cirencester were dropping deeper into their own half as North Leigh pushed forward for an equaliser, allowing the home team to advance into space in front the penalty area.

A number of free kicks ensued and three minutes into added time Hole once again took a kick - left of centre and 25 yards out.  His curling, dipping effort over the defensive wall looked destined for the bottom left corner but Garner made an incredible leap to his right to push it wide and it was cleared by the alert Shayne Anson.

The referee finally blew the whistle in the 94th minute much to the relief of the visiting supporters who had witnessed defeat last season in the 96th minute – where he got the extra time from will remain a mystery as neither physio entered the field of play during the half.

Final Score:         0 - 1

This was a tremendous performance from the Centurions with everyone playing their part in a determined display.

The centre back pairing of Leigh Henry and Ellis Dunton gets stronger every time they play together and they were particularly dominant with Glyn Garner constantly encouraging behind them.  Aidan Bennett in a central striker role looked strong and dangerous throughout.

WELL DONE BOYS – Have a well earned rest.

Roll on Saturday and hopefully another good performance against Didcot before the meeting with third placed Paulton next Tuesday.


Attendance:       106                                                        

Referee:              Matthew Rushton


North Leigh:

1.   Paul White
2.   Stuart Hole
3.   James Organ
4.   Wayne Turk   (C)       
5.   Andy Gunn
6.   Zak Westlake    
7.   Jon Else        
8.   Elliott Osborne-Ricketts
9.   Conor McDonagh                     
10.  Kieran Sanders
11.  Morgan Williams

12.  Brian Bowles              (Morgan Williams-71mins)                          
14.  Jacob Walcott            (Jon Else-71mins)    
15.  Michael Alexis          
16.  Aaron Woodley        (Wayne Turk-86mins) 

Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner
2.   Shayne Anson    (C)
3.   Ben Prictor  
4.   James Mortimer-Jones
5.   Ellis Dunton 
6.   Leigh Henry    
7.   Jamie Edge
8.   Sean Wood
9.   Aidan Bennett    
10.  Steve Davies
11.  Lee Smith 

12.  Brad Hooper              (Sean Wood-92mins)
14.  Jody Bevan
15.  Dean Bromley
16.  Jacob Davidge           (Ben Prictor-81mins)
17.  Tim Bond

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