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The Calor League – Division One South & West

 Paulton Rovers   0 – 1  Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

 

Cirencester made the difficult journey to in-form Paulton Rovers for their third successive away fixture. Paulton have been in the top five of the South & West Division virtually all season and are currently top of the six-match form guide whilst Cirencester have slipped to 19th during their run of disappointing performances recently – having secured only 5 points from the 18 available.

The starting eleven had a more familiar look about it with Shayne Anson returning at right back, James Mortimer-Jones to midfield and Aidan Bennett up front alongside Steve Davies and Lee Smith.

Paulton kicked off playing down the slope and moved the ball to Sam Teale at left back and as he was looking to pick his pass Aidan Bennett closed him down very quickly in what was to prove to be a marker for the match – Teale in his haste kicking the ball off the park. From this point onwards the entire Cirencester team looked up for the challenge – different to recent weeks when they have been very slow out of the blocks.

Even so it was Paulton who had the first opportunity in the 2nd minute when they won a corner on the left that Matt Liddiard headed away at the near post.

Three minutes later Aidan Bennett received a ball just inside his own half, right of the centre circle, and dummied to go to his right before switching to his left and sending a superb 30 yard left footed pass into space behind right back Stuart Tovey for Lee Smith to chase.  The alert home ‘keeper, Kyle Phillips, had spotted the danger and quickly came out to clear the ball off the pitch as Smith closed in.

Shortly after this Ellis Dunton collected a ball on the left flank and fed Bennett, left of the centre line of the pitch, 10 yards outside the penalty area. Bennett slipped the ball to Smith who cut in from the left and carried the ball along the front edge of the penalty area, avoiding challenges in the process, before releasing it to Liddiard, just outside the centre edge of the area, who took on the shot but it was wide of the angle of the right post and upright.

Twelve minutes gone in a flash and Cirencester were looking very sharp at this stage.

A Steve Davies free kick on the left flank was hit low to Smith further up the pitch where with his back to goal he made a neat turn to his right to wrong foot his marker and crossed from inside the left edge of the penalty area. The ball found its way back to Smith who sent it into the 6 yard box where Joe Shepherd had made one of his runs but his effort from close range was blocked and bundled away.

Paulton responded with a long ball to Nick McCootie on their left flank who drove towards the visitors goal with Shayne Anson in hot pursuit and as he got into the area, outside the line of the left post but level with the penalty spot, he shot wide of the right post.

Josh Klein-Davies had a similar result a minute later when he too struck his shot wide of the right post from the left edge of the area.

On the quarter hour mark Davies collected a ball on the right side of the half way line and struck a superb 35 yard pass into the path of Smith on the left flank. Smith advanced and took on the shot but sliced his effort wide of the right post where Bennett chased it down, kept it in play but the threat was cleared by Paulton.

Such was the pace of the game it was difficult for this writer to keep up with recording it.

In the 23rd minute Paulton had an opportunity when a long free kick from deep in their half, 5 yards in front of the right edge of the penalty area, found Teale on the edge, left of centre, of the visitors area but his hurried effort with his right foot cleared the bar by some distance.

Seven minutes later the busy James Mortimer-Jones collected a ball just inside the Paulton half and sent an excellent ball out to Smith on the left wing.  Once again Smith made ground before cutting back along the edge of the area and firing in a shot that was deflected to the right flank where Davies made a determined run to get to it first and shoot from a narrow angle, just inside the right edge of the area but only 7 yards out. His effort was blocked and then cleared.

The pressure from Cirencester finally told in the 32nd minute and the deadlock was broken as once again Mortimer-Jones picked up a ball on the half way line and passed to the right wing for Davies who immediately took it, at pace, to the by-line before sending in a teasing cross to the back post.  Lee Smith had spotted the potential of the move and darted into the 6 yard box to head home whilst under pressure from the back peddling defenders.   0-1

The instant Paulton reply was a dangerous cross from Klein-Davies, on the right flank, that required Anson to make a solid clearance from the penalty spot before McCootie could latch on to it.

A few minutes before the half-time interval Anson was injured in an aerial challenge with Klein-Davies that resulted in the visiting defender leaving the field - later in the evening he visited hospital to have a few stitches to repair the damage to his cheek. Once repaired for action by physio Lisa Vicat he stood on the line awaiting permission to come back on whilst Paulton mounted an attack down his vacant flank.  Brandon Barnes sending in a cross that Mike Perrott headed wide of the left post from the left edge of the 6 yard box.

 

Half Time:   0 - 1

 

Paulton made two substitutions at half time with Ryan Batten and Josh Jeffries replacing Stuart Tovey and Josh Klein-Davies. Nick McCootie moving to the central striker position and Ryan Batten to right back.

Four minutes into the half Shepherd was on the receiving end of a tackle from McCootie that required him to leave the field for attention and when he returned he was not as mobile as before so the decision was taken to replace him and the unlucky Anson (his groin problem had flared up again) in the 52nd minute. 

As a result Matt Liddiard moved to right back and Brad Hooper and Sean Wood came on in midfield.

The first opportunity of the half came in the 51st minute to the home side when Barnes played a ball across the 6 yard box from the left that Ballinger fired high and wide of the target when well placed.

The early action of the half became a little tetchy and within the first ten minutes referee Antony Foster had issued three yellow cards – to Paulton’s Luke Ballinger and Nick McCootie and Cirencester’s Aidan Bennett.

With 20 minutes of the half gone McCootie chased a long clearance into the right corner, held the ball from incoming challenges and laid it off to the supporting Barnes who shot wide of the right post with his favoured left foot from inside the centre right edge of the penalty area.

Two minutes later Glyn Garner in the visitor’s goal had to be alert and quick off the mark as he dashed out to the edge of his area to pick up the ball from the feet of the closing McCootie.

Half an hour into the half and end-to-end with Paulton searching for an opening but Leigh Henry and Mark Pritchett were in determined mood ensuring no space or time in or around their penalty area was available.

A neat piece of play down the left flank for the Centurions - involving Dunton to Smith, back to Dunton, and on to Bennett who flicked the ball through and behind the defence for Smith to collect at pace before crossing from the by-line – ended when Phillips caught the ball at his near post.

Paulton were awarded a free kick just outside the right corner of the penalty area but Barnes' curling kick to the back post was headed out by Henry and then the clearance was completed by Bennett.

With seven minutes of normal time remaining Dunton was knocked over from behind as he attempted to clear the ball from the edge of his area resulting in the ball staying in the area. Cirencester expected a free kick but nothing was forthcoming from the referee and as Paulton attempted to latch on to it a melee ensued during which a Paulton player fell to the ground under challenge from Henry, prompting a loud shout from the home supporters for a penalty but once again the referee was not convinced and the ball was cleared.

The last few minutes became frantic as Paulton pushed for the equaliser, even ‘keeper Phillips came up for a free kick that was over-hit resulting in a goal kick to the visitors.

The final effort from Paulton came from substitute Ryan Bath in time added-on as he shot from the left edge of the penalty area - requiring Garner to dive to his left to catch low down.

 

Final Score: 0 - 1

 

This was a tremendous game of football with plenty of commitment from both sides.

Cirencester had the better of the first half but had to be resolute in the second as Paulton pushed forward for an equaliser and condensed play into the Cirencester half.

Everyone in a Cirencester shirt played their part with Leigh Henry and Mark Pritchett solid and uncompromising in the heart of the defence, Steve Davies lively and Aidan Bennett a constant thorn in the side of Paulton.

For the travelling supporters it was good to see again the effort and quality that took the team to the top end of the table before Christmas.

This level of performance needs to be repeated if the team is to stay in the play-off places - they cannot afford to relax in any of their remaining fixtures starting with Bishops Cleeve on Saturday.

Attendance: 129                                                   

Referee:      Antony Foster

 

Paulton Rovers:

1.   Kyle Phillips
2.   Stuart Tovey
3.   Sam Teale
4.   Marcus Mapstone     
5.   Scott Brice
6.   Brandon Barnes    
7.   Mike Perrott           
8.   Luke Ballinger
9.   Josh Klein-Davies              
10.  Dan Cleverley      (C)
11.   Nick McCootie 

12.  Saul Williams    
14.  Ryan Bath                 (Dan Cleverley-85mins)
15.  Ryan Batten              (Josh Klein-Davies-46mins)
16.  Josh Jeffries (Stuart Tovey-46mins)
17.  Nick Bunyard

 

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.   Aidan Bennett    
10.  Steve Davies
11.   Lee Smith 

12.  Jody Bevan     
14.  Sean Wood      (Joe Shepherd-52mins)  
15.  Shane Bumphrey       
16.  Brad Hooper             (Shayne Anson-52mins)

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