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FA TROPHY – 1ST ROUND QUALIFYING

Merthyr Town     2 – 0   Cirencester Town   

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

Cirencester were on the road once again - this time they were crossing the border into The Principality to meet former Southern League South & West Division rivals Merthyr Town in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy with prize money of £2700 at stake.

Merthyr are in a good run of form remaining unbeaten in their last eight games and in 2nd position in their Division with 2 games in hand over leaders Stratford Town. 

 The preparation for the match did not start well with Leigh Henry declared unavailable due to injury in mid-week and overnight Manager Brian Hughes lost the services of Ben Wells and Jacob Davidge from the squad due to illness.  As a result the team travelled with only one substitute - Josh Parsons who signed for the Club in mid-week. 

The starting eleven was as the previous game with the exception of Leigh Henry who was replaced in the centre of the defence by Ellis Dunton.

The Development Team were unable to help as they were also down to the bare bones with their manager, Clive Messenger, likely to be their only substitute.

The Centurions kicked off on the controversial 4G pitch and immediately mounted a couple of attacks down their left flank - the first through Nat Jarvis who squared the ball back from the left side of the area for it to be cut off before his team mates could reach it. The ball was quickly regained and fed back to him and he slipped it behind the fullback for Aidan Bennett to collect and cross from the left side of the penalty area - but again it was cleared and a counter attack launched down the home sides right flank.  Ian Traylor chased the long ball and from the right side edge of the area attempted to 'chip' the rapidly closing Glynn Garner. Garner leapt high and opened his wingspan to block the attempt for a throw-in. 

The throw led to a ball to the back of the area that reached a lurking Kerry Morgan on the left front edge and he fired a fierce right footed shot that struck the top right corner of post and bar and rebounded clear.

Merthyr opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a superb strike from 25 yards following a cross that was only partially headed clear. As the ball left the area it landed at the feet of GAVIN WILLIAMS and he drove a sweet volley into the top left corner with Garner unable to reach it.  1 - 0.

Despite the setback Cirencester mounted an attack down their right as a throw-in on half way was moved on by Matt Liddiard to Brad Hooper who sped down the wing and crossed to the back post where Bennett laid it off to Jarvis.  The resulting shot was blocked.

The home side countered with a break of their own, down their left, and thought they had increased the lead as a right footed cross from inside the left edge of the area was parried into the visitors net but the flag was up for ‘offside’ earlier in the move. No goal.

Cirencester suffered another setback after quarter of an hour had been played when Traylor received a ball on their right and attacked Ben Prictor. As he approached the area he pushed the ball down the outside of the back pedalling Prictor and ran down the inside leading to a shoulder charging contest on the edge of the area. Traylor won and crossed the ball to the near post where Kayne McLaggon headed wide of the right post. Prictor was left on the ground following the contest and the game was delayed for a few minutes as he received treatment before leaving the pitch on a stretcher to sympathetic applause from the fans of both teams. It was later confirmed he had twisted his knee.

The departure of Prictor required a shuffle of the team as Ellis Dunton moved from right centre back to left back, Gethin Jones from right back to right centre back and Matt Liddiard from midfield to right back. The vacancy in midfield was filled by Josh Parsons making his debut in a ‘supporting striker/centre midfield’ role.

Cirencester continued to push forward and were nearly undone when Merthyr countered a corner kick by quickly launching the ball to a marauding Guillermo Bauza on the right and he unleashed a shot from 20 yards that Garner caught above his head.

Both teams were breaking quickly and Parsons first involvement was to release Jarvis down the left side of the 6 yard box but he was deemed to be offside when he shot across goal.

This action at the home end was followed by a couple of moves involving Ed Williams, Jarvis and Dunton in the left corner but they were unable to break down the well organised Martyrs defence and the action was soon back at the other end of the pitch.

The Martyrs were awarded a free kick on the right flank, 35 yards out, which Ryan Newman curled towards the far post. Jarrad Wright had made a run to get on the end of it but it was just too far ahead of him and went behind for a goal kick.

Just after the half hour mark the busy and dangerous McLaggon, who was causing all sorts of problems with his pace, nearly opened his account when he was on the end of a cross from the left but his header at the near post missed the target.  

Merthyr continued to play neat passing football and looked dangerous whilst Cirencester were defending resolutely and counter attacking down their flanks. From one such attack the ball reached Jarvis who shot from the left side of the area only to see his effort deflected for a left wing corner. The kick cleared the home defence to reach the back post where Gethin Jones headed wide of the goal from the edge of the 6 yard box.

In the final minutes of the half Merthyr had another couple of chances to increase their lead when Traylor collected the ball outside the penalty area, right of centre, and shot towards the top left corner of the goal.  Glyn Garner produced an acrobatic full length dive to push the ball round the post for a corner kick. Ryan Newman latched on to the clearance and promptly fired a shot wide of the left post from 23 yards.


Half Time:   1 - 0


Merthyr started as they had left off on the re-start as McLaggon chased and won the ball wide on the left flank, laid it back to Traylor who then slipped it inside the covering defender but too firmly and it went out of play for a goal kick.

Cirencester responded with some controlled football when several players were involved in keeping possession on the left flank but the move came to an end as they entered the home area – goal kick.

This was followed by a long headed clearance from inside his half by Dunton that Parsons brought down and advanced down the left side before slipping the ball back to Ed Williams who carried it along the front edge of the area. His low shot was saved inside the left post by Tom Bradley.

Cirencester were pressing for an equaliser but they were undone in the 54th minute when from a breakaway McLaggon won a corner kick on the left that Gavin Williams sent to the back post where JARRAD WRIGHT was on hand to head into the net unopposed. 2 – 0.     

Shortly afterwards the Centurions were awarded a free kick, 25 yards out – right of centre, that Parsons stepped up to take. His effort was heading for the top right corner until Bradley intervened – parrying it over the bar.

Despite the improved possession for the Centurions the home side were very dangerous on the break with McLaggon always available and willing to chase what might have appeared lost causes. On the hour mark he cut in from the left side of the area and sent a curling shot towards the far post that Garner managed to dive to push round the post for a corner.

It was then the turn of the busy Kerry Morgan to produce a similar move but his effort was wide of the far post.

Midway through the half Bradley produced a full length save to push out an Ed Williams left footed effort aimed inside the left post but none of the visitors were able to latch on to the loose ball before it was cleared.   

Cirencester nearly opened their account when a corner kick from the left reached Matt Liddiard, in line with the penalty spot on the right side of the area, but his effort with the outside of his right foot went wide of the near post.

Merthyr had the ball in the net again following a volley from Wright that McLaggon appeared to jump over inside the 6 yard box but an ‘offside’ decision was awarded.

In the final quarter Cirencester continued to push forward but were unable to obtain the goal they desperately needed.

Bennett and Ed Williams kept the ball well in the right corner, exchanging several passes, before crossing into the 6 yard box but once again no team-mate was able to collect.

Ten minutes from time Jarvis collected a ball on halfway and raced down the centre of the pitch before moving the ball to Ed Williams who was now on the left flank. Williams cut in and sent a cross-cum-shot towards the right post that Bennett nearly reached.

A couple of minutes later Parsons fed Dunton on the left and he sent it on to Bennett who played a good ‘cushioned’ header to Jarvis who turned and fired a left footed drive over the bar from the front left edge of the area.

Cirencester were pressing for an opening goal but once again Merthyr broke down the left for CoreyJenkins to cross to the back post where Dunton headed out but the ball reached Traylor who shot wide of the right post.

In the final moments of the game Ed Williams crossed into the box and the clearance fell to James Mortimer-Jones who side stepped a charging opponent before shooting from the front edge of the area but Bradley parried the effort.   


Final Score: 2 – 0


This match was a good cup-tie with end-to-end football.

Merthyr played very neat football, particularly in the first half, and always had an outlet when under pressure in the speedy McLaggon. Their defence was well organised and their midfield busy, using the width of the pitch well. They played with the confidence that a run of positive results produces.

Cirencester did not get off to the best start and at times in the first half were hanging on with Glyn Garner certainly the busier of the two ‘keepers. They offered a threat down the flanks but could not break down the home defence.

In the second half they enjoyed more possession, with Bennett and Williams prominent, but were unable to get that important first goal to get a foothold in the game.

Disappointing, but GOOD LUCK to Merthyr in the next round.

Attendance: 307                                                   

Referee:      Chris Smith

 

MERTHYR TOWN:

 1.   Tom Bradley 
 2.   Ryan Green      (C)
 3.   Adam Davies
 4.   Guillermo Bauza
 5.   Jarred Wright
 6.   Jamie Rewbury
 7.   Kerry Morgan
 8.   Gavin Williams
 9.   Kayne McLaggon
10.   Ryan Newman
11.   Ian Traylor

12.   Dan Summerfield
14.   Matthew Harris
15.   Kris Leek.          (Ryan Newman-69mins)
16.   Corey Jenkins   (Kerry Morgan-75mins)
17.   Ryan Prosser     (Kyle McLaggon-88mins)

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

 1.   Glyn Garner
 2.   Gethin Jones
 3.   Ben Prictor
 4.   Mark Pritchett   (C)
 5.   Matt Liddiard
 6.   Ellis Dunton     
 7.   Brad Hooper           
 8.   James Mortimer-Jones
 9.   Nat Jarvis              
10.  Aidan Bennett
11.   Ed Williams

12.  Josh Parsons         (Ben Prictor-16mins)

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