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The Calor League – Division One South & West

Cirencester Town 2 – 2 Fleet Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

At last some football.

Cirencester opened the New Year with a home match to Fleet Town on a bright sunny day, perfect for football – no wind or rain which had been a spoiling feature of recent matches.

The reverse fixture earlier in the season had proved a difficult encounter that the Centurions won late in the game 1-0 and despite the league position of the visitors a tough match was anticipated.

With Shane Anson and Ben Prictor both suspended due to recent misdemeanours and Chris Holland still recovering from injury James Mortimer–Jones took the right back position. Otherwise the team was the same as the one that took to the field in the last match against Bridgwater.

Fleet kicked off playing towards the Arena and immediately launched the ball deep into the corner behind Jonah. From the resultant throw-in Cirencester enjoyed a period of possession that resulted in a series of corners and from one of these on the left, seven minutes in, Sean Wood drove the ball to the back post where Ellis Dunton made a late run into space to head inside the right post.     1-0

Just the start the Centurions wanted and at this stage they were playing some quick accurate passing football.

Five minutes later Leigh Henry won the ball 15 yards inside his half of the pitch, right side, and sent a 40 yard pass to the left wing for Lee Smith to collect and dart inside towards the visitor’s penalty area. Once there he drove the ball wide of the right post.

Midway through the half Henry took a quick free, just inside the right side of the home half, that released Aidan Bennett into the box. When he reached the bye-line he drove the ball across the 6 yard box but there was no-one on hand so it reached Smith on the left side of the area and he sent it back into the 6 yard box. Visiting goalkeeper Ryan Pryce punched it out but it fell to Steve Davies, just outside the line of the right post, and he volleyed it towards the top right corner but the visiting defence managed to block the shot and clear the danger.

A few minutes later some neat inter-passing football on the right flank provided the opportunity for Brad Hooper to send another cross-field pass to Smith on the left and once again his shot from the left edge of the area was wide of the right post.

Lee Smith turned provider just after the half hour mark when he slipped a ball through to Bennett on the left flank. As he reached the bye-line Bennett pulled the ball back towards the penalty spot where Joe Shepherd was lining himself up for a strike but Steve Davies nipped in from his right to take the ball off his toe and the chance was gone with Fleet smothering the forward.

Shortly afterwards a series of passes on the right led to a darting run from Davies that took him to the right edge of the 6 yard box from where he crossed the ball towards the penalty spot for the supporting Joe Shepherd. The resulting shot looked destined for the back of the net but once again the visitors managed to block the shot on the line and clear it.

The final attempt on goal from the Centurions came three minutes before the interval when Sean Wood fired over the top left corner of the bar from the right edge of the penalty area.

Half Time:   1 - 0

Fleet Town made a substitution at half time with Simba Mlambo replacing Sean O’Reilly and he took up a position on the right wing.

Cirencester had dominated the first half and continued in like fashion on the restart but it was the visitors who scored in the 52nd minute when a break down the centre, following a strong penalty shout at the other end, produced a shot from Rob Carr that struck the left post and rebounded to Pat Cox who gratefully placed it inside the right post.       1-1

The goal lifted Fleet and a few minutes later Craig Davies was allowed to run some 40 yards unchallenged down the centre of the pitch and his shot from 25 yards brought a superb diving save from Glyn Garner as he tipped the ball wide of his right post for a corner kick.

The corner was headed clear but only as far as the lurking Jordan Carter who immediately drove it into the back of the net from 25 yards out.    1-2

Manager Hughes responded by bringing on Jody Bevan, in place of the limping Joe Shepherd, to provide additional goal threat.

Cirencester continued to push forward, despite the threat of a breakaway, in an attempt to get the equaliser and a long ball from Mortimer-Jones cleared the visiting defence for Bennett to latch onto it on the right edge of the area but his hurried shot was wide of the right post.

A minute later a free kick from the left flank, inside the visitors half, reached Davies on the right. His shot was blocked and fell to Bevan who moved it on to Smith on the left. Smith weaved his way past two defenders but once again his shot was blocked.

Midway through the half came the moment that Jody Bevan has been working for when he finally scored his 250th career goal at this level.

Brad Hooper won a tackle in the centre circle and it broke to Aidan Bennett who played a superb pass, into space on the right flank behind the Fleet defence, for Steve Davies to collect. Davies made ground and crossed the ball towards the near post, from the bye-line along the right edge of the area.  Jody Bevan instinctively made a darting run towards the post and from a couple of yards out he struck a fierce half volley into the roof of the net. The goal resulted in much celebration from players and fans alike in recognition of reaching this fantastic milestone.    2-2

Fleet, who were under constant pressure and relying on soaking it up before mounting quick breaks, had a shot on goal when Cox cleared the bar from the right edge of the penalty area three minutes later.

Aidan Bennett collected a ball on the left, some 25 yards out, and struck a superb shot that was destined for the top right corner until Ryan Pryce leapt to his left to produce a full length dive to tip the ball over the bar.

On the half hour mark the speedy Simba Mlambo collected a loose ball and shot wide of the left post from 25 yards out.

Shortly afterwards Hooper collected a ball on the edge of his own penalty area and sent a long pass downfield that Bevan flicked into the path of Davies on a run down the right flank. Unfortunately his second touch was a bit too heavy and provided Pryce the opportunity to bravely dive at his feet to block with both players being hurt in the resultant collision.

In the 40th minute Mlambo made a break down the right and struck a powerful shot from the edge of the area towards goal that Glyn Garner managed to parry.

Two minutes before completion of normal time Cirencester had the opportunity to get the three points when the referee awarded a penalty.  This followed a long throw from Dunton that was only partially cleared and as a shot came in there was a shout for hand ball on the block, quickly followed by second appeal as another shot was blocked. The second appeal resulted in the penalty decision from a well placed referee.

Top scorer Lee Smith stepped up but struck the ball over the bar.

Three minutes into time added-on another Dunton long throw from the left flank was returned to him and his cross found the head of Bennett on the centre edge of the penalty area and his header struck the inside of the left post before being cleared.

Cirencester continued to lay siege on the Fleet goal but could not get the elusive goal to give them the win.

Final Score: 2 - 2

This was an enthralling encounter with Cirencester having most of the possession and many attempts on goal but Fleet refused to lie down and once they got the equaliser played with conviction that belies their position in the division.

They put everything on the line to prevent the Centurions from scoring with many a brave block.

Cirencester had a couple of other strong penalty appeals during the match but need to be more clinical in front of goal as they squandered a number of good openings.

The final ten minutes were hectic in the visitor’s penalty area.


Attendance: 104                                

Referee:    Savvas Yianni


Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner
2.   James Mortimer-Jones
3.   Ellis Dunton
4.   Mark Pritchett
5.   Joe Shepherd
6.   Leigh Henry    (C)    
7.   Brad Hooper
8.   Sean Wood             
9.   Aidan Bennett
10.  Steve Davies          
11.   Lee Smith               

12.  Jody Bevan       (Joe Shepherd-55mins) 
14.  Dean Bromley
15.  Tim Bond    
16.  Jacob Davidge    
17.  Kyle Pitts       

Fleet Town:

1.   Ryan Pryce
2.   James Scott
3.   Aaron Blaxall
4.   Sean O’Reilly   
5.   Joe Gater
6.   Craig Davis    
7.   Jordan Carter
8.   Ben White   (C)
9.   Alex Charlick
10.  Pat Cox
11.   Rob Carr

12.  Lee Bowen          (Rob Carr-92mins)                          
13.  Aaron Bufton
14.  Simba Mlambo   (Sean O’Reilly-46mins)
15.  Jack French
16.  Craig Martin

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