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The Calor League – Division One South & West

 Merthyr Town 3 – 1 Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


The Centurions travelled to the Principality on St. David’s Day for this eagerly awaited top of the table clash against division leaders Merthyr Town, who were three points in front of their visitors albeit having played three games more.

Merthyr had promoted the match as ‘the only game in Wales’ and this had generated a lot of interest with over 500 fans in attendance on a dry, fairly warm day.

It has to be said that the pitch that has raised much comment in recent weeks looked magnificent and when the players took to the field the occasion was further enhanced by each of them holding the hand of a local youngster who would no doubt treasure the moment.

Cirencester kicked off, immediately launching the ball into touch, midway into the half on their left flank. The resultant throw-in led to a back pass to ‘keeper Lee Idzi who slipped, and sliced the ball over his base line for a corner on the Cirencester left. Sean Wood took the kick and although Ellis Dunton managed to get his head to the ball he could only glance it wide of the far right post.

Within minutes of this early fright for the hosts they took the lead when they worked the ball down their right flank to the corner where Ian Traylor whipped in a cross for Kayne McLaggon, near the penalty spot, to powerfully head inside the left post.    1-0

Despite this early setback the Centurions responded with a patient interchange of passes between Dunton, Wood, Lee Smith and Will Morford down their left flank that resulted in a cross from Smith that was cleared.

The match was becoming end-to-end with each side obtaining possession and counter attacking the other and it was evident that both sides were committed to the match as a number of moves ended with determined challenges from their opponents – the referee issuing stern warnings in an attempt to keep-a-lid on proceedings.

In the 17th minute Cirencester levelled the score following a right wing corner that once again Dunton got his head to with the ball being blocked by a combination of ‘keeper and defender on the edge of the 6 yard box.  The ball dropped to the ground amongst a mass of players and eventually was poked into the net by Mark Pritchett.   1-1

Encouraged by this Cirencester nearly took the lead when Smith received a ball in space on the left edge of the penalty area and as he moved forward he took aim for the far corner but his shot was deflected for a right wing corner by Idzi’s left foot as he spread himself to good effect.

Shortly afterwards Leigh Henry, on the turn, hooked the ball over the bar after Pritchett headed a long throw from Dunton towards the penalty spot.

The Martyrs created an opening when they won the ball on the centre line, on their right flank, and immediately played a superb ball behind the visitors centre backs for Traylor to latch onto as he advanced down the centre of the pitch. Shayne Anson had spotted the move and covered to force Traylor wide of the right post (from a Merthyr perspective). Traylor fired the ball towards goal from the narrow angle and Glyn Garner parried the shot for Henry to clear the danger.

Midway through the half a long throw from Kris Leek on the right was headed out to Traylor, who was lurking outside the left edge of the penalty area, but his shot was comfortably saved by Garner.

Five minutes before the scheduled interval a Merthyr free kick on the right found the head of Jarrad Wright  and then the grateful arms of Garner.

Shortly after this Dunton volleyed a clearance from the edge of his 6 yard box to Smith - on the half way line of the left flank – who drove at the home defence and as he reached the edge of the penalty area his attempted pass to Steve Davies was intercepted and quickly fed to Traylor who shot wide of the left post.

On the stroke of half time a Leek free kick, from some 25 yards, produced a low diving save to his right from Garner and the alert McLaggon bundled the loose ball into the net before Garner could gather it but he was adjudged to be offside.

An entertaining first period with some quality play worthy of the fixture and conditions often brought to an end by committed tackles.

Half Time:   1 - 1

The second half opened in similar fashion to the first with Cirencester the first to threaten when a long throw-in from Dunton, on the right, found the head of Morford in the 6 yard box and on to Smith at the back post but he volleyed the ball over the bar.

The Martyrs reacted with a quick break down their left flank which required Garner to charge to the edge of his area to leap and parry the ball and as he fell outside the area his arm once again came into contact with the ball resulting in a free kick in a dangerous position.  The kick was headed clear by James Mortimer-Jones.

Ten minutes into the half substitute Ryan Newman was found in space on the right side of the penalty area and he had a pot at goal which wide of the left post.

Just before the mid-point of the half McLaggon, on the left flank, cut inside and produced a shot that Garner at full stretch had to tip wide of his right post.

The Merthyr pressure continued as they probed the Centurions resolute defence in search of the lead and once again a shot from Ryan Charles ended up in the arms of Garner.

Cirencester were creating the occasional opportunities on the break but they could not mount a sustained period of control and from one break they were rewarded with a right wing corner that was cleared to the back post where Dunton chipped it back in on the turn for the back-peddling Idzi to tip over the bar.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 85th minute when the lively McLaggon collected a ball on the left and advanced to the edge of the area with Anson in close attendance. As he entered the box he dummied to go to his right and then cut sharply back to his left producing a trip from Anson that resulted in a penalty.  Kayne McLaggon got to his feet and after a short delay, due to the Merthyr physio. treating a home player, drove the ball into the roof of the net.   2-1

A minute later they increased the lead further as Jarrad Wright exchanged passes on the left flank and moved swiftly down the left edge of the penalty area before cutting the ball back towards the penalty spot from the bye-line for the confident and alert Kayne McLaggon to dart forward to drive the ball inside the left post to complete his hat-trick.

A superbly worked and taken goal.   3-1 

In the closing minutes of the match Leek had another pot at goal from distance that required a save, low to his right, from Garner.

Final Score: 3 - 1

The first half lived up to expectations with pulsating and competitive football but the second period was dominated by the home side who deserved their victory.

The large number of home supporters would certainly go home very happy with their team’s performance – it must be wonderful to play in front of a large and passionate crowd every week – we can only dream of such support.

Our next fixture is at home on Tuesday 4th March against Clevedon who were the victors in the previous encounter.

Attendance: 533                               

Referee:      Mark Russell


Merthyr Town:

1.   Lee Idzi
2.   Steve Williams
3.   Jarrad Wright
4.   Jamie Rewbury         
5.   Gary Colborne    (C)
6.   Matthew Harris    
7.   Gavin Williams         
8.   Kris Leek
9.   Kayne McLaggon                 
10.  Kerry Morgan
11.  Ian Traylor

12.  Ryan Prosser                      
14.  Ryan Charles           (Kerry Morgan-60mins)
15.  Marcus Griffiths    (Ian Traylor-68mins)        
16.  Dan Summerfield        
17.  Ryan Newman             (Gavin Williams-19mins)


Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner
2.   Shayne Anson    (C)
3.   Ellis Dunton 
4.   Mark Pritchett
5.   Matt Liddiard 
6.   Leigh Henry    
7.   Sean Wood
8.   James Mortimer-Jones
9.   Will Morford    
10.  Steve Davies
11.  Lee Smith

12.  Jody Bevan     
14.  Joe Shepherd 
15.  Brad Hooper         
16.  Aidan Bennett     (Sean Wood-80mins)
17.  Ben Prictor     

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