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The Calor League – Division One South & West

Cirencester Town   2 – 1  Shortwood United

 Match Report by Dave Pyzer

Local rivals Shortwood United were the visitors for the last home league match of the season and apart from local pride there was much at stake for both sides with Cirencester looking to maintain their place at the top of the League Table and Shortwood their place in the end of the season ‘play-off’ matches.

The Centurions starting eleven had a more ‘normal’ look about it when compared with recent weeks due to the return of Mark Pritchett at centre back which enabled Ellis Dunton and Aidan Bennett to return to left back and central striker respectively.

Cirencester kicked off playing down the slope towards the Arena and almost immediately conceded a free kick on their right flank just inside the Shortwood half. The kick was driven to the far post but the resultant header was collected by Glyn Garner.  

There was little composed football for the next quarter of an hour but Shortwood had a good chance to open the scoring when Duncan Culley latched on to a ball on the right edge of the home penalty area and squared it across the box to John Cant who blazed it high and wide of the left post.

The Centurions first threat came in the 17th minute when Garner drove a free kick from the right flank, 2 yards inside the Shortwood half, into the penalty area where it was headed behind for a right wing corner that came to nothing.

Midway through the half Ellis Dunton took a throw-in from the right that reached Leigh Henry near the penalty spot. Henry’s header was blocked in the aerial challenge and fell to Aidan Bennett who volleyed the dropping ball goal-wards but it was deflected wide of the left post.

The corner from the left was headed wide at the back post by Joe Shepherd.

The stalemate was finally broken in the 25th minute when a move that started on the right flank with a ball out of defence ended with a penalty being awarded.

The ball was fed to Aidan Bennett on the right and as he moved towards the centre circle he rode two tackles and the ball reached Joe Shepherd making one of his many supporting runs. Shepherd looked up and sent a superb pass into space on the left flank for Lee Smith to collect in his stride. Smith drove at the visitors defence and into the left side of the penalty area chased by Sam Avery and then the covering James Coates. He cut right between the defenders and became the filling in the sandwich being knocked to the ground in the process. The referee who was just outside the area, in the centre, awarded a penalty kick. Lee Smith took the penalty himself and placed it inside the left post with Tom King going in the opposite direction.    1-0

In the next ten minutes Cirencester created a couple of good chances, the first following a break down the right by Shepherd, supported by Steve Davies, and after exchanging passes the cross to the far post was over-hit. The second opening came following a long throw-in by Dunton on the right flank that was met by Henry’s head and down to Smith who laid the ball back to Brad Hooper on the edge of the area. Hooper’s shot went just over the bar.

Four minutes from the end of normal time Cirencester were awarded a corner on the right that Davies drove to the back post. Mark Pritchett headed the ball down and Dunton toe-poked it towards goal where it was cleared to the right front edge of the area. James Mortimer-Jones was coming in quickly and lining up a shot when Davies took it off his toe and continued to the right edge of the area before crossing back into the box. The headed clearance reached Matt Liddiard who with superb vision and touch played it back out to Davies on the right flank. Davies sent in another cross which Bennett headed over from the front edge of the 6 yard box.

On the stroke of half time there was a long delay due to an injury to Coates following a heading duel with Shepherd that left Coates groggy.

Half Time:   1 - 0  

After the break it took a little while for the teams to settle and play was disjointed and frantic as they both sought to get the upper hand.

Cirencester increased their lead in the 58th minute when a free kick from Davies on the right, 30 yards out, was fired in to the back post to Dunton who headed it across goal.  The ball reached Shepherd just wide of the right edge of the 6 yard box and he headed it back, over King, to the centre of the box where Leigh Henry volleyed into the net.  2-0

Midway into the half a Pritchett clearance was brought down with a great touch from Bennett who passed the ball on to the strong running Shepherd who carried it down the left to the bye line before crossing to the back post but none of his team-mates could reach it.

The game became very physical as Shortwood sought a way to get on the score-sheet and just before the half hour mark they were awarded a free kick a few yards outside the left front corner of the home penalty area. Top scorer Duncan Culley stepped up and sent a superb curling kick over the wall that looked destined for the top left corner but Garner had other ideas as he launched himself to his right and palmed the ball wide of his goal for a corner. Top class. A couple of corners followed but the danger ended when the ball was headed wide of the left post.

A few minutes later Cirencester had the chance to put the game to bed when Davies carried the ball from 10 yards outside his penalty area to the right of centre edge of the visitor’s area where he released the ball to his right. Bennett received the ball and after a couple of strides fired a powerful shot from just outside the right edge of the 6 yard box over the bar. 

With eight minutes of normal time remaining substitute Ben Wells fed Smith on the left wing and after an exchange of passes with Jody Bevan the ball was laid back to Dunton who crossed towards the penalty spot. Shepherd was on the end of the cross and his header was blocked in an aerial challenge with the ball going up in the air. Shepherd did not give it up and as it dropped he fired in a rasping shot that skimmed the top of the bar.

Shortly afterwards another move down the left involving Smith and Bevan resulted in a good strike from Bevan that was blocked.

Shortwood had been cranking up the pressure and were rewarded in the 87th minute when the ball was fed to Kevin Slack on the left. Slack entered the area and unleashed a fierce left footed shot from the left side of the area, level with the penalty spot, that flew inside the far right post.  2-1

In the closing minutes the home defence were under a great deal of pressure as Shortwood desperately searched for an equaliser and a minute into time added on Slack again had a pot at goal but this time his effort was wide of the left post.

Final Score: 2 - 1

As expected this was a tough match against a very determined side and Cirencester had to be on their mettle, being tested in all departments.

Once again a resilient performance from the defence, ably assisted by the midfielders, whilst the forward line looked dangerous with its pace.

The Four Pillars Hotel Man of the Match Award was voted on by our supporters and was presented to Leigh Henry

Next up - a trip to Yate for a game of huge significance as it could be the final match of the season or lead to an extended season.

Attendance: 236                                                   

Referee:    Tim Wood     


Cirencester Town:

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

12. Jody Bevan      (Aidan Bennett-80mins)           
14. Ben Wells                 (Brad Hooper-74mins)                                      
15. Dean Bromley 


Shortwood United: 

1.   Tom King
2.   Sam Avery
3.   Matt Bennett
4.   Ashley Thomas         
5.   James Coates
6.   Marc Richards    
7.   Nick Hancock
8.   Jake Parrott   (C)
9.   Adam Price
10. John Cant
11.  Duncan Culley 

12.  Kevin Slack               (John Cant-60mins)                           
14.  Ross Langworthy    (Adam Price-60mins)
15.  Nick Humphries       
16.  Sean Lawson    (Nick Hancock-46mins)
17.  Ashton Herbert         


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