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Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division

Dunstable Town 0 - 3 Cirencester Town   

 Match Report by Dave Pyzer

The Centurions travelled to Bedfordshire, for their fifth successive away match, to meet last season's Southern League Central Division Champions. They also won the Champion of Champions match at Cirencester.

Dunstable are currently 8th in the table, one place above Cirencester - with 3 points more. The league fixture in August was a 1 - 1 draw but their form in the last 6 matches puts them in 22nd place.

The Cirencester starting eleven for this match was unchanged from the Mangotsfield United cup game in midweek but the bench had Jacob Davidge and Tom Luce from the Development Team plus newcomer Chris Knowles.

Dunstable kicked off following a well observed one minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of war and conflict on an overcast day and a pitch that was very damp and slippery on top as a result of a heavy downpour during the warm-up.

The first threat on either goal came in the fourth minute as Matt Liddiard, on a burst down the left channel, was stopped in his tracks by Steven Gregory resulting in a chat with the referee and a free kick ten yards outside the penalty area, left of centre. Josh Parsons struck the kick wide of the left post.

The Dunstable response was immediate as Scott Davies drove forward and had a pot at goal, from the left front edge of the penalty area, that was deflected wide of the left post for a corner kick. Charlie Henry sent the kick to the very back of the area where it was headed back across the box for Henry to collect and drive across the 6 yard box and out.

After the initial probing by both sides Cirencester began to settle and approaching the quarter hour mark started a move down the right flank that involved several players until the attempted cross from near the bye-line went behind for a goal kick.

 The visitors had a scare when Scott Davies took a free kick from 25 yards, down the centre line of the pitch, which curled over the defensive wall towards the top left corner but landed on top of the net. 

This was followed by a period of pressure from the Centurions down their left flank - once again involving a number of players as they retained possession searching for an opening.

The home side were relying on quick breaks and from one such break down their right flank Henry cut back and sent a left footed shot wide of the left post.

Shortly afterwards Matt Liddiard imitated a juggling act as he won a header in the centre circle that went up rather than along so he won it again and again before it finally reached Aidan Bennett and on towards Josh Parsons down the centre but George Legg in the home goal got to the ball first.   

As before the Dunstable response was a quick break, this time down their left flank, as Tony Burnett cut back and shot with his right foot for Glyn Garner to catch comfortably low down in the centre of his goal.

The Centurions produced some quick breakaway football of their own as Garner punted a long ball to Ed Williams who killed it instantly, left of centre, and slipped it to Liddiard, who was making a supporting run down the right channel, and he in turn fed Parsons who struck a shot towards the left post that ‘keeper Legg did well to push round the post for a corner kick.

The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour as following a quickly taken corner kick the ball arrived at the feet of BRAD HOOPER, 30 yards out and 10 yards inside the right touchline. Hooper looked up and aimed a cross-cum-shot towards the far left post that curled over the head of Legg and under the crossbar in the top left corner.   0 – 1.

Dunstable reacted with another break down their right flank and it was the awareness and experience of Gethin Jones that dealt with the resultant cross as whilst back tracking and facing his goal he dummied to clear inside his 6 yard box but left the ball - wrong footing his opponents as they closed in - for it to sail through and out for a Cirencester throw-in on the home side's left flank. 

Cirencester continued to push forward and in the next ten minutes Parsons, who appears keen to open his account for the Centurions, had two attempts from free kicks whistle wide of the target.

With seven minutes of the half remaining Davies latched onto a loose ball, the result of a collision between Mark Pritchett and Gary Mulligan, and drove down the left side of the penalty area before pulling the ball back to the far post where a supporting Ryan Hope mishit his shot and it was cleared.

A couple of minutes later Dunstable had their best chance to score when Luke Ruddick made a surging run down the right flank and his cross was headed wide of the near post from the right of the penalty spot by Davies. 

Half Time:   0 - 1

Cirencester started the second half quickly with Bennett, on the right flank, releasing Liddiard who in turn fed Parsons. Parsons made a sharp turn and shot but it was blocked and fell to Hooper who was in support – his shot was also blocked.

This action was quickly followed by a measured ball from Ellis Dunton, on half way, into the left channel of the penalty area where Parsons turned to latch onto in space. As he advanced so did ‘keeper Legg and he smothered the ball near the left edge of the 6 yard box.

Dunstable were showing more urgency and eight minutes into the half Henry, on the right flank, played a clever ‘scoop’ pass over the Cirencester backline for Burnett to collect in space. Burnett advanced into the area and when he reached the penalty spot with only Garner to beat he elected to dribble round him instead of shooting. He dummied right and went left but the experienced Garner, as he went to ground, stuck out a leg and managed to nick the ball off his opponent's toe and gather the ball.    

The mobile Parsons was causing his taller opponents problems with his mobility and after he won the ball off an opponent he made his way across the pitch towards the front edge of the penalty area where he threw a couple of dummies as he searched for an opportunity to shoot. When he did his effort was blocked and came out to Liddiard who shot wide of the right post.  

This action was quickly followed by a period of possession down the right flank, started by Kyle Pitts and involving Hooper, Liddiard and Williams.  Williams eventually fired the cross along the front edge of the 6 yard box and through with no contact.

Ryan Hope countered for the hosts with a driving run down the centre of the pitch towards the left post and as he reached the front edge of the area he shot only to see Garner stop his effort with his feet.

Cirencester increased their lead in the 59th minute following a corner kick on the left taken by Williams. The corner kick came about as a result of a low ball inside the defender by Hooper, for an overlapping Dunton, that the defender could only deflect off the pitch. Williams sent a looping kick to the back post where GETHIN JONES had made a darting run into space and unchallenged he headed the ball powerfully into the back of the net for his first goal for Cirencester.  0 – 2.

A couple of minutes later there was a moment of excitement for the home supporters as a right wing corner kick looked to be safely caught by Garner but he appeared to be nudged dropping the ball towards the goal-line. Fortunately for the visitors Pitts was still in position - on the line for the corner - and cleared the danger.

The third and final goal of the encounter, in the 63rd minute, was fortuitous for the visitors but unfortunate for the young home ‘keeper. Parsons had made another driving run at the home defence before pulling the ball back to a supporting MATT LIDDIARD who shot from outside the right front edge of the area. It appeared that Legg had initially stopped the effort but in the damp conditions it squirmed out of his hands and had sufficient momentum to travel over the line.

0 – 3.  

Midway through the half Bennett moved the ball on to Parsons who in turn fed a charging Hooper who looked as if he was going to shoot from the right side of the area but instead he pulled the ball back to Bennett who had cut inside. Bennett’s shot from the centre edge of the area was blocked.  

Twelve minutes later Dunton won a tackle on the edge of his area and fed the busy Hooper down the left flank. Dunstable closed him down but with excellent vision he managed to switch play to Bennett in space on the right flank.

Cirencester mounted another attack down the left flank to the left corner involving Williams, Dunton, Liddiard and Parsons. Once Parsons had the ball he jinked past a couple of challenges and shot wide of the right post from left of the penalty spot.

With four minutes of normal time remaining Adam Watkins struck a superb left footed shot from 30 yards that looked destined for the top left corner until Garner produced a magnificent diving save to tip it round the post.      

Final Score: 0 - 3

A superb team performance from Cirencester with everyone doing their job as they enjoyed plenty of possession and took the game to their hosts.

The defence was sound, the midfield busy and the forwards very mobile.

Matt Liddiard and Brad Hooper were always in the thick of the action whilst James Mortimer-Jones did his usual tidying-up job.

The inter-changing mobility of the front three causing concern for their opponents.

Attendance: 127                      

Referee:      Andrew Humphries


Dunstable Town:

1.  George Legg
2.  Luke Ruddick
3.  Danny May
4.  Nick Beasant
5.  Shane Blackett
6.  Steven Gregory    (C)
7.  Ryan Hope
8.  Charlie Henry
9.  Gary Mulligan
10. Scott Davies
11. Tony Burnett

12. David Hutton
13. Luke Chambers
14. Curtis Shaw.        (Shane Blackett-68mins)
15. Adam Watkins     (Gary Mulligan-45mins)
16. Mark Reilly

Cirencester Town:

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

12. Jacob Davidge.     (Aidan Bennett-83mins)
14. Chris Knowles.      (Brad Hooper-83mins)
15. Tom Luce.            (James M-Jones-88mins)

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