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Calor League Division 1 South & West

Cirencester Town 0 - 0 North Leigh

Match Report by Dave Pyzer 

The latest visitors to the Corinium Stadium were North Leigh who Cirencester defeated 1-0 in the reverse fixture in a first versus second encounter played in November. North Leigh would no doubt be looking to avenge this and with several former Cirencester players in their ranks would certainly be ‘up for the game’.

The Centurions starting line-up had a couple of changes from that which began against Swindon Supermarine in mid-week with Will Morford having returned to Gloucester City and Steve Davies abroad. As a result Jody Bevan and Joe Shepherd came into the starting eleven – Bevan in the central striker role and Shepherd in midfield.  Ellis Dunton also returned at left back having completed his period of suspension.

North Leigh kicked off playing towards the Arena on a firm pitch, despite the overnight rain, on a dry but very windy day. The strong wind would prove to be difficult for the players of both sides.

Cirencester started in positive fashion with Matt Liddiard passing to Lee Smith who was making a run across the penalty area, Smith released the ball to Aidan Bennett in the right corner who was promptly upended for a free kick. The resulting kick was partially cleared to Ellis Dunton just outside the box and he chipped it back in for Jody Bevan but the threat was cleared.

A couple of minutes later Glyn Garner threw the ball out to Dunton, just inside the home half, and he advanced down the left flank before releasing Smith who immediately drove into the penalty area and sent a shot just wide of the far post.

Shortly afterwards Joe Shepherd won the ball on the right, 15 yards outside the area, and moved it on to Smith who was once again making a run across to the right side of the area but he was surrounded once there and the move came to nothing.

In the 13th minute Shepherd crossed the ball into the penalty area from the right flank for Mark Pritchett to attempt an ambitious overhead bicycle kick that landed at the feet of Smith on the right. Smith sent the ball back into the box and there followed a series of blocked shots and passes before the danger was cleared.

North Leigh had been soaking up the pressure from Cirencester and counter attacking with Kieran Sanders and Conor McDonagh the main outlets and from one such counter in the 19th minute the visitors played the ball to McDonagh 5 yards inside the home half, right of centre, and he advanced down the right before crossing to the supporting Sanders who had darted towards the near post. Sanders put the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled offside.

This encouraged the visitors and they mounted a series of attempts on the Cirencester goal with Leigh Henry having to head a dangerous cross from his left clear and then McDonagh driving a shot over the bar from the right of the penalty area.

During this period Sanders received the ball, 15 yards inside the home half, and in one move he produced a very sharp turn to his left that resulted in the incoming Henry tackle clattering him to the ground for a free kick.  Henry received a Yellow Card for his troubles.

A couple of minutes later Stuart Hole drove a free kick from the centre line of the pitch over the bar from 25 yards.

Half Time: 0 - 0

During the half time interval Sean Wood was called in to replace Leigh Henry who had a tight hamstring and this required a shuffle of the players with the dependable James Mortimer-Jones moving to right back and Shayne Anson to centre back, with Wood taking up his usual position in midfield.

Within two minutes of the re-start Sanders had a left footed pot at goal from 25 yards out that Garner initially parried inside his left post before gathering at the second attempt.

This was followed by a strong run from Morgan Williams, who had collected a ball over the top on the left flank, which resulted in a shot over the bar from the left edge of the penalty area.

Cirencester responded with a good move down the right when Shepherd won the ball on half way and fed Bennett. Bennett moved the ball on to Smith who shot narrowly wide of the far post from the right side of the penalty area.

Shepherd was in the action again a few minutes later when he sent a pass from the right to the left flank to Smith. Smith then played the ball into the path of an overlapping Dunton which took him into the corner where he won a corner. The corner kick was cleared.

The home side were now looking more positive and another play involving Mortimer-Jones, Shepherd, Bennett and Smith on the right flank  created an opening for Jody Bevan but his effort from the edge of the 6 yard box was parried by ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

The game was now an end-to-end affair with each side mounting attacks which were repelled for a counter attack from the other.

Half an hour into the second period a throw-in from Dunton found Matt Liddiard who gave it back to Dunton who slipped it to Smith before making a run towards the corner. Smith passed the ball to Dunton who beat the covering defender before cutting the ball back to Smith on the left corner of the penalty area. Smith took a touch and fired a shot just over the far corner of the visitor’s goal.

In the 83rd minute Cirencester had a good opportunity to open the scoring when Smith chipped a ball over the visitors defence for Shane Bumphrey, who had earlier replaced Bevan, to chase.

Bumphrey collected the ball and advanced down the centre towards goal before shooting but McHugh managed to block the shot near the penalty spot.

As in the first half North Leigh pressed late in the half and with two minutes of normal time remaining Williams made another strong run down the left flank and crossed into the home penalty area. Pritchett cut the cross off and put it behind for a left wing corner.  Garner punched the corner kick clear but it was soon fired back in for a deflection that produced a right wing corner.  This time Garner caught the ball.

Final Score: 0 - 0

Cirencester started well with Aidan Bennett proving a handful for the visitors defence but North Leigh finished the first half strongly.

The second half was more end to end with both teams having periods of possession but whilst there was plenty of endeavour there was little quality in front of goal. 

Attendance: 112                                 

Referee:    Mark Howes  

Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner
2.   Shayne Anson    (C)
3.   Ellis Dunton
4.   Mark Pritchett
5.   Matt Liddiard
6.   Leigh Henry
7.   Joe Shepherd
8.   James Mortimer-Jones
9.   Jody Bevan
10.  Aidan Bennett  11.   Lee Smith               

12.  Brad Hooper            
14.  Sean Wood       (Leigh Henry-46mins)                   
15.  Ben Prictor
16.  Shayne Bumphrey   (Jody Bevan-71mins)
17.  Dean Bromley

North Leigh:

1.   Adam McHugh
2.   Stuart Hole    (C)
3.   Michael Hopkins
4.   Elliott Osborne-Ricketts    
5.   Zak Westlake
6.   Andy Caton
7.   John Else
8.   Liam Malone
9.   Conor McDonagh
10.  Kieran Sanders
11.  Morgan Williams 

12.  James Dobson                                       
14.  Aarron Woodley     (Conor McDonagh-71mins)       
15.  Andy Gunn
16.  Mark Bell                (Elliott Osborne-Ricketts-76mins)
17.  Wayne Turk          (Liam Malone-71mins)

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