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The Calor League – Division One South & West

Thatcham Town 0 – 1 Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

Cirencester travelled to Thatcham on a bright, sunny day for this league match knowing that their hosts would be keen to ensure there would not be a repeat of the score-line from the reverse fixture when Cirencester won 7-0.

 Manager Brain Hughes had decided on a more attacking 4-2-4 formation with Aidan Bennett coming into the side in place of Sean Wood, leaving Matt Liddiard and James Mortimer- Jones to hold the fort and provide ammunition to the front runners. Bennett took position on the right flank with Steve Davies moving into more of a central striker supporting role.

Due to the spell of warm, dry weather recently the pitch was firm and bumpy and this would make the bounce unpredictable and difficult for the teams.

Thatcham kicked off and within two minutes had an opportunity when Leon Bird received the ball in space on the right side of the penalty area but he scuffed his shot and Glyn Garner was able to gather.

Cirencester responded within a few minutes when Will Morford was on the end of a Ben Prictor free kick from the left flank but his header from near the penalty spot was wide of the left post.

There was a repeat of this action on the quarter hour mark but this time it was Steve Davies who took the free kick, on the right flank, but the result was the same – although the linesman flagged for offside.

A minute later former Cirencester player Sean Wimble took a right wing corner and his dangerous left footed curler was punched clear by Garner from the edge of his 6 yard box.

Both sides were struggling with the bumpy pitch which was leading to plenty of tackles being made as players attempted to get the ball under control and many miss-hit passes.

Matt Liddiard was having a composed game in midfield and produced some neat footwork to release Lee Smith on the left flank. Smith moved down the line before cutting back onto his right and shooting from the left edge of the penalty area for Aaron Bufton to make the save low down.  Smith was in the action again a minute later when he received a pass from Davies on the left of the penalty area and shot left footed wide of the near post.

In the 25th minute the Thatcham right back, Jordan Seward, was injured when tackling Smith on the flank and the game was delayed whilst his replacement, Liam Painter, prepared to join the action (shirt and shin-pads required).

The game was very disjointed and the next real opportunity came five minutes before the interval when Aaron Ferris made a strong run down the home sides left flank that took him to the bye-line – once there he pulled the ball back towards the penalty spot where Gio Wrona was making a supporting run. Wrona, with the goal at his mercy, blasted the ball high over the bar.

A couple of minutes later Bufton punched a Davies right wing corner up into the air and Wimble completed the clearance for a break down their left – it was then switched to the right where Yashwa Romeo was in space.  His low shot from the right side of the penalty area was once again gathered in by Garner.   

Half Time:   0 - 0

Within two minutes of the re-start Cirencester won a corner on the right and Mark Pritchett’s powerful header at the back post was initially smothered and then cleared down-field. Bennett in chasing back to make a tackle, as the break entered the visitor’s half, was adjudged to have fouled and was awarded a Yellow Card.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 52nd minute when Liddiard and Prictor exchanged passes in the left corner for the latter to launch a ball towards the near post where Will Morford rose to produce a good header that entered the top right corner of the net.   0-1

Encouraged, Cirencester created a couple of openings when first Bennett released Morford whose shot was blocked on the edge of the 6 yard box and then Smith chased down a clearance from his defence, right of centre, and cut back sharply to his left (wrong-footing his opponent) before taking on the shot from 30 yards with his left foot – wide of the left post.

Bennett set another move in motion, from 10 yards inside the Thatcham half, when he played the ball to Smith on the left wing who crossed to the back post for Davies to head back across the 6 yard box.  Morford dived towards the ball but was unable to make contact.

On the half hour mark of the half Thatcham were awarded a free kick on the right flank and once again Wimble sent in a curling kick towards the back post where Gareth Thomas headed it wide of the left post from just outside the 6 yard box.

Davies then sent a dipping right footed shot from the edge of the penalty area over the home cross-bar.

Jody Bevan replaced Bennett five minutes before the end of normal time and was immediately in the action as he headed the ball into the path of Davies on the right flank. Davies crossed to Morford at the near post and his chip was deflected wide of the left post for a corner. Davies drove the kick to the back post where Pritchett headed it back towards the penalty spot for Morford to shoot wide of the left post on the turn.

There was a final effort from Thatcham to get an equaliser when Luke Abrahart latched on to a throw-in from the right flank but he struck his shot into the side netting from the right edge of the area.

Final Score: 0 - 1

This was certainly not a classic due to the hard bumpy pitch but Cirencester stuck to the task to get a result that keeps them in the chase for the title.

On Tuesday, at the Corinium Stadium, Cirencester face fourth placed Swindon Supermarine who are in a fine run of form and matches between these local rivals are always tight affairs.

Attendance: 82                                 
Referee:      Andrew Dine


Thatcham Town:

1.   Aaron Bufton
2.   Jordan Seward
3.   Sean O’Reilly
4.   Sean Wimble  
5.   Gareth Thomas   (C)
6.   Callum Willmoth    
7.   Aaron Ferris            
8.   Gio Wrona
9.   Leon Bird                 
10.  Luke Abrahart
11.  Yashwa Romeo

12.  Toby Nowell  
14.  Liam Painter   (Jordan Seward-22mins)
15.  Tom Gooding     
16.  Alex Oakman  (Leon Bird-31mins) 
17.  Jamie Leacock


Cirencester Town:

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

12.  Jody Bevan    (Aidan Bennett-84mins)
14.  Sean Wood          
15.  Joe Shepherd            
16.  Brad Hooper
17.  Ben Wells     

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