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Southern League Red Insure Cup – First Round

Cirencester Town 2 – 4 Shortwood United


Match Report by Dave Pyzer 

As he did last season Cirencester Manager Brian Hughes took the opportunity to give some of the young players from the Development Team exposure to First Team football for this First Round League Cup match against Shortwood United.

The starting eleven consisted of four players who were on the bench on Saturday against St. Neots Town, Aidan Bennett (who started on Saturday) and Development Team players.

Shortwood were also showing several changes from the previous game with only three players from their starting eleven taking to the field but they would no doubt be looking to inflict a second Cup defeat on their hosts – having won an FA Cup replay at the Corinium Stadium a few weeks ago.

Cirencester kicked off towards the Shed End and three minutes into the game it was Shortwood who opened the scoring when a speculative 30 yard shot from Josh Egan, which initially appeared to be safely caught above his head by Adam Clatworthy, dropped into the back of his net.   0 – 1.

The Centurions responded by creating an opening on the left front edge of the penalty area for Aidan Bennett but his effort was wide of the left post.

The home side had a let-off in the 10th minute when a ball over the defence into space down the right channel was miss-controlled by Ross Langworthy enabling Clatworthy to gather.

Shortwood were looking the more dangerous as a disjointed Centurions defence was being caught too high up the pitch and being exposed to long balls for the lively visiting forward line to exploit - two efforts from Marley Thomas and Langworthy went wide of the left post.

The game was being played in a free-spirited way as both sides were playing fast counter-attacking football leading to numerous openings.

On the quarter hour mark Clatworthy launched a long ball downfield that cleared the visiting defence for Bennett to collect and charge down the right flank – his cross from the bye-line to the back post was met by Jack Smith who headed it into the 6 yard box for a supporting Shane Bumphrey. The resulting shot was deflected over the bar for a left wing corner kick that was headed wide of the right post.

Almost immediately Egan sent another 25 yard strike over the bar following a Marley Thomas cross from the right.

It was then the turn of the Centurions to have a couple attempts on goal when first Bennett shot wide of the target when clear on the right side of the penalty area, followed by Ellis Dunton who had his drive from outside the box deflected to ‘keeper Ashton Herbert.

The ‘Wood’ increased their lead in the 20th minute when Adam Price crossed from the left flank for Egan to challenge at the back post and the ball broke to Ross Langworthy on the edge of the 6 yard box and he made no mistake as he drove the ball into the ground and inside the left post.  0 – 2.

Seven minutes later Cirencester reduced the arrears when Ben Wells took a quick, short corner kick on the left to Bennett who returned it as he looped around. Wells then crossed the ball to the near post where Jack Smith headed the ball with some power into the back of the net.

1 – 2.

Such was the pace of the game that you couldn’t take your eyes of it for fear of missing another goal attempt.

Midway into the half Shortwood had an excellent chance to score when Michael Opoku latched on to a ball over the top and as he raced down the centre of the pitch he was tackled on the edge of the penalty area – the ball broke to Langworthy on the left side of the area but his shot at an open goal was blocked by a recovering Clatworthy.

Eight minutes later Langworthy sprinted from the halfway line, leaving his marker in his wake, and his first shot from the left side of the penalty area was parried by Clatworthy but he managed to collect the rebound and move across the front edge of the area before shooting wide of the right post.

Cirencester persisted with a ‘high’ defensive line and once again they were caught with a ball over the top as Josh Egan reached a ball in space and chipped the advancing Clatworthy from just outside the right front edge of the penalty area.  1 – 3.

Despite this setback Cirencester produced a break down the left, through Bennett, that resulted in a corner that Shayne Anson nearly converted with his head but the effort led to a corner on the right that Dunton headed wide at the back post.

This period of possession for the home side was rewarded with seven minutes of the half remaining when Wells flighted a free kick from the right flank to the back post where a defender, under pressure from Dunton, turned it into his own goal.  2 – 3.

The final goal action of the half resulted from a long throw by Luke Bennyworth, on the half way line, that was headed into the path of Josh Egan as he burst through on the edge of the penalty area but his effort was saved by Clatworthy. 

Half Time:   2 - 3

Straight from the kick off Shortwood mounted a break down their right flank through the mobile Thomas and his cross to the back post resulted in a shot that was deflected for a corner kick.

It took seven minutes for Cirencester to produce their first response of the half as Bennett, on the left flank, laid the ball back to Dunton who moved it sideways to Wells. Wells then fed Smith who produced an overhead kick that Dunton collected inside the area, drove to the bye-line and crossed. The cross was blocked for a corner that came to nothing.

On the hour mark Cirencester made their three substitutions with Danny Gudger, Robbie James and Kieron Jones replacing Aidan Bennett, Brad Hooper and George Peare. As a result Ellis Dunton moved to the centre of the home defence.

Once again the tempo lifted with action at both ends.

Clatworthy saved from Egan, then Herbert saved a point blank header from Danny Gudger – diving low to his right.

Ashton Herbert was soon in the action again when he produced another superb full length diving save, again to his right, to thwart Wells.  Wells had collected the ball 10 yards outside the area and with superb footwork had worked his way past three challengers before unleashing a terrific strike with his left foot that looked destined for the top corner until Herbert intervened.

Midway through the half a move started by Adam Price on the right reached Egan in space on the left – one on one with Clatworthy -  but his shot hit the bar and as Clatworthy attempted to catch the rebound he was nudged producing a juggling act that eventually was cleared.

With fifteen minutes remaining Gudger was played in on the right, by the impressive Smith, but he took the shot early from 30 yards and it was comfortably saved by Herbert.

Three minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick on the left that Wells curled to the back post. The ball avoided the on-rushing players and struck the post before being cleared.

Cirencester were enjoying a period of possession and a neat ball from Dunton into the area found Smith in space and as he lined up the shot he was closed down forcing him wide and to the bye-line. The resultant cross was deflected out and the follow-up shot blocked - rebounding to Robbie James just outside the area. Once again the incoming shot was blocked but this time it was cleared and the danger over.

In the dying seconds of the game a ball over the top of the home defence reached Ross Langworthy on the left of the penalty area and he turned and fired a left footed shot inside the near post.  2 – 4.   

Final Score: 2 - 4

A thoroughly entertaining match for the neutral with plenty of free flowing football.

On the chances created this match could have ended in a total goals scored in double figures.

Shortwood were lively up front, breaking very quickly and taking advantage of the wide open spaces behind the advanced home defence, and resolute at the back.

Cirencester kept the ball on the ground well, with some good pass and move football. They came up against a well organised team with a quick forward line and the experience would have been good for the youngsters. They stuck to the task well however and showed plenty of character.

Attendance: 61                                           

Referee:      Steve Glyde

Cirencester Town:

1.   Adam Clatworthy
2.   Shayne Anson    (C)
3.   Ryan Elliot
4.   George Peare
5.   Ellis Dunton
6.   Kyle Pitts    
7.   Brad Hooper            
8.   Ben Wells
9.   Shane Bumphrey                 
10.  Jack Smith
11.  Aidan Bennett

12.  Keiran Jones       (George Peare-60mins)
14.  Robbie James     (Brad Hooper–60mins)
15.  James Smith
16.  Danny Gudger     (Aidan Bennett-60mins)

Shortwood United:

1.   Ashton Herbert
2.   Luke Bennyworth
3.   Alex Sykes 
4.   Jake Lee      (C)
5.   Phil Veal 
6.   Craig Mills       
7.   Marley Thomas
8.   Adam Price    
9.   Michael Opoku        
10.  Ross Langworthy
11.  Josh Egan

12.  Sam Rawlings
14.  Ash Thomas          
15.  Niall Morgan         (Michael Opoku-60mins)            
16.  Andy Hoskins  

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