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The Calor League – Division One South & West

 Didcot Town   3 – 2  Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


The second of three successive away matches took the Centurions to Didcot - the scene of a 1-1 draw in the FA Trophy back in October.

Once again there were a couple of changes to the starting eleven with Leigh Henry and Mark Pritchett returning to their centre back berths and Ellis Dunton to his left back position. James Mortimer-Jones remained at right back as Shayne Anson was suffering from a groin strain and Brad Hooper came into midfield in place of Sean Wood. The formation was to be 4-4-2 with Steve Davies and Lee Smith the two pronged strike-force.

Cirencester kicked off on a hard bobbly pitch in bright but windy conditions.

The first shot at goal came from Didcot in the fifth minute when John Mills latched on to a loose ball on the centre edge of the visitors penalty area but the ball bobbled and he did not connect cleanly so Glyn Garner was able to gather easily.

The Centurions responded three minutes later when Aidan Bennett, playing in the wide left midfield position, fed a long ball to Steve Davies outside the home penalty area where he turned inside and shot early, from 22 yards left of centre, but his effort was high of the target.

A couple of minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick after a foul on Matt Liddiard, 25 yards out on the right flank. Davies took the kick and aimed for the back post to Liddiard who headed it back across the 6 yard box where the incoming Joe Shepherd nearly managed to convert the opportunity.

Cirencester opened the scoring in the 15th minute following an interchange of passes on the left flank involving Liddiard, Bennett, Lee Smith and then back to Bennett on an overlapping run. Bennett rounded Sam Elkins and sent in a superb low cross from the by-line into the 6 yard box where Steve Davies had a tap-in, in the centre of the goal, with Shepherd on his shoulder.  0-1

Within five minutes Didcot had a good chance to level the score when Ben Whitehead, on half way, passed the ball to Mills on the left side of the penalty area. Mills cut back inside and laid the ball back to the supporting Jack Longford, inside the left front edge of the penalty area, but he blazed it over the bar.

Didcot levelled the scores in the 23rd minute when Josh Dutton-Black intercepted a pass on the half way line and immediately fed it to John Mills approximately 15 yards further on, right of centre, and he drove on to shoot from the right side of the penalty area and into the net.   1-1

Bennett and Smith were combining well on the left and another move between them resulted in a cross from Smith that Matt Woodley did well to head clear.

This was followed by a neat period of play from one side of the pitch to the other which was finally stopped by Michael McKirnan and a free kick was awarded to Didcot - to the surprise of the Cirencester supporters.

Didcot nearly took the lead when Dutton-Black sent in a shot from the edge of the penalty area with Garner out of his goal but Dunton was on hand to head the ball away.

Dunton was in the action again shortly before the end of the half following a period of pressure from the Centurions on the right side that resulted in a clearance that fell to him 30 yards out, left of centre, but his effort was high of the goal.

The final effort of the first period came from Didcot when Dutton-Black tried a snap shot from the edge of the area, right of centre, that Garner caught comfortably.

Half Time:   1 - 1

Didcot began the second half very strongly with Elkins in the thick of it as he crossed the ball into the box for Garner to gather with Mills in close attendance, and then he fired in another cross that Mark Pritchett sliced over the bar for a right wing corner.

The right flank was very busy for Didcot at this stage and from another move Mills laid the ball back to Dutton-Black but his cross was wide of the left post for a goal kick.

Cirencester took the lead against the run of play in the 57th minute when Smith collected the ball near the centre circle and fed Steve Davies who carried the ball to the right side of the penalty area before placing his shot inside the near post.  1-2

Didcot pushed forward looking for an equaliser and a quarter of an hour into the half enjoyed a period of possession that came to nothing as the resolute visitors defence dug in.

Shortly after the half hour mark of the half Bennett had a shot blocked and the loose ball fell to Sean Wood, who had earlier replaced Brad Hooper, but he shot wide of the right post from the right of centre edge of the area.

Glyn Garner had to be alert a couple of minutes later when Mills burst into the area requiring the ‘keeper to dive at the striker’s feet resulting in the ball squirting out for James Mortimer-Jones to complete the clearance.

In the 82nd minute during another Didcot move full back Elkins released the ball to Mills in space just inside the penalty area but as he did so he was on the receiving end of a Bennett tackle that referee Barry decided to penalise, issuing a Yellow Card in the process to Bennett. Initially Didcot felt aggrieved at the decision to stop play as Mills was in a one-on-one situation with Garner but their mood changed when left back Matt Woodley stepped up to take the free kick from 25 yards out, centre line of the pitch, and promptly struck it left footed inside the right post. A superb strike.  2-2  

A minute later Didcot could have taken the lead when Dutton-Black, on the right flank, cut back onto his left foot and crossed the ball towards the 6 yard box.  Longford had made a darting run to the centre of the box but failed to make contact with his head enabling Garner to collect.

In the final moments of normal time in the game Didcot finally got the reward they had been searching for when Pablo Haysham reached the by-line on the left and crossed the ball to the back post. Centre back Luke Carnell had gambled and pushed forward from his defensive position to rise above the unsuspecting Dunton to head the ball back across goal and into the net as Garner desperately tried to cover his left post. 3-2

A further five minutes were played but Cirencester could not mount a serious challenge.

Final Score: 3 - 2

The first half was end-to-end - with Cirencester playing more passing football than in the game against Taunton on Thursday evening - whilst Didcot had the better of the second half and scored two good goals to secure their victory. Didcot striker Mills was prominent throughout and centre back Carnell dominant.

Cirencester face a trip to Paulton Rovers on Tuesday in desperate need of a favourable result to keep their play-off ambitions alive.

Attendance: 90                                                    

Referee:      S Barry

Didcot Town:

1.   James Foster
2.   Sam Elkins
3.   Matt Woodley
4.   Michael McKirnan     
5.   Luke Carnell      (C)
6.   Jamie Heapy    
7.   Josh Dutton-Black             
8.   Josh Baines
9.   Jack Longford          
10.  John Mills
11.  Ben Whitehead 

12.  Pablo Haysham    (Josh Baines-68mins)    
14.  Lance Williams    (John Mills-89mins)
15.  Taylor Janes     
16.  Joe Parish      
17.  Alex Williams


Cirencester Town:

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

12.  Jody Bevan     
14.  Shane Bumphrey        (Joe Shepherd-78mins)  
15.  Sean Wood      (Brad Hooper-63mins)   

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