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Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division

Arlesey Town 1 – 2 Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer


The Centurions once again travelled to Bedfordshire for a league match, this time against Arlesey Town who are in the lower reaches of the Division but on current form - based on the last six matches - they would be placed 12th.

 The starting eleven remained unchanged for the third match on the trot despite the return of Nat Jarvis from international duty in the Caribbean Cup for Antigua & Barbuda. Jarvis taking a seat on the bench alongside Ben Wells, Chris Knowles and Ben Prictor.

Arlesey kicked off on a dull, overcast day and two minutes in goalkeeper Nick Thompson drove a ball from the left flank into the visitor’s penalty area for Hallelujah Basmel to collect but he was adjudged to be offside. The left flank was to prove to be their main threat during the first ten minutes with Arafat Kabuye prominent as he slipped a ball to Basmel on the front left edge of the area but the ball on to an overlapping Sam Willett was too heavy and went for a goal kick. Shortly afterwards Kabuye sent a deep cross to the back post to test Glyn Garner who took the catch comfortably at full stretch above his head.

The first attack from the Centurions came as Aidan Bennett released Brad Hooper down the right flank and the resulting cross was caught by Thompson at the back post.

Cirencester were warming to their task and beginning to pass the ball better and following a move down the left involving Ellis Dunton and Ed Williams the ball reached Hooper, 25 yards out left of centre, who fired a shot straight at Thompson which was easily caught.

Two minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick on the right flank that Josh Parsons sent towards the penalty spot where it was cleared and launched down-field to produce the sight of Garner racing out of his area, to get to it before Martel Powell, to punt it off the pitch.

The pressure from the Centurions was increasing and Bennett played a terrific through ball on half way, right side, that released Parsons who carried it down the right channel but his effort from the edge of the area was blocked.

Cirencester continued to push forward and a period of 'keep ball' down the right involving several players eventually led to Williams driving down the right side of the penalty area but his shot was deflected onto the left post and out behind Parsons as he closed in for the immediate danger to be cleared. Hooper latched onto the loose ball and shot wide of the right post from the centre edge of the penalty area.

The home side were feeding off scraps - relying on quick breaks down both flanks - and after the mid-point of the half Powell received the ball on the right, on half-way, slipped an incoming tackle and played the ball to Kabuye, in space on the left flank. Kabuye cut back and sent a right footed centre towards the penalty spot where Matt Liddiard dived to head clear.

Just before the half hour mark Cirencester mounted an attack down their left flank as Dunton fed Bennett in the left corner. Bennett moved into the area and cut the ball back to Parsons who took it in his stride and rounded two defenders before shooting but once again the effort was blocked by the determined home defence. The ball came out to Dunton who again fed Bennett for a left wing corner to be conceded. Resolute defending produced a right wing corner that was successfully dealt with by the home side.

Undeterred Cirencester continued to turn the screw and a driving run by Hooper, down the right channel - following a quick throw on half-way - produced a cross shot that was cleared at the near post.

Mark Pritchett, who defends with total commitment, cleared the ball long to Bennett who moved outside his marker on the left flank and into the area before shooting from a narrow angle with his left foot. Thompson making the save low down at the near post.

With ten minutes of the half remaining Arlesey created another opening on their left as Mark Gallagher slipped the ball to Basmel and on to Kabuye. Once again the centre was over-hit and easily caught by Garner.

Two minutes later the busy Hooper collected a loose ball on the left side of the centre circle, looked up and sent a 40 yard precision pass to Williams on the right flank and his cross into the box was deflected to the front edge of the area where a follow-up shot was blocked.

Dunton won the ball on the left and played it inside to James Mortimer-Jones who turned and moved it on to Gethin Jones, left of the centre circle. Jones then sent a 30 yard pass to Williams on the right flank who slipped it inside to Hooper on the burst - onto Parsons near the centre front edge of the penalty area. Parsons took a touch and fired a shot at goal but once again it was deflected for a corner.

The final goalmouth action of the half came as a Williams produced a driving run on the left into the box before pulling the ball back- behind the supporting Hooper but into the path of Liddiard who shot first time with his left foot over the bar.


Half Time:   0 - 0


Cirencester showed their intent almost immediately from the re-start as Dunton took a quick free kick on the left to Williams who had his cross headed out to a lurking Hooper on the centre edge of the area. Hooper headed it back towards the left corner for an overlapping Dunton - forcing Andre Maltay to head behind for a left wing corner.

Two minutes later Dunton was again in the action as he sent a deep cross to the back post towards an incoming Bennett. Thompson failed to collect the cross but pushed it wide of his goal.  Bennett changed direction to shoot on the turn over the bar from the right side edge of the 6 yard box.

Josh Parsons took a free kick – 30 yards out, right of centre – and this led to a series of blocked attempts at goal before it reached Williams who sent a lobbed cross to the back post that Thompson dropped but his defence cleared the danger.

The pressure on the home defence was relentless and from a right wing corner Liddiard headed over the bar from the centre edge of the 6 yard box.

A couple of minutes later Parsons received the ball in the centre circle, turned and produced a mazy run down the centre line of the pitch that left three challengers in his wake before his eventual shot, from just outside the penalty area, was blocked as he was surrounded.

Just past the quarter hour mark of the half Kyle Pitts slid an accurate ball from right of the centre circle to Liddiard on the front centre edge of the penalty area. Liddiard, back to goal, played a clever flick into the path of Williams, breaking down the left side of the area, and it required a desperate clearance for a throw-in to stop him.

An exchange of passes between Bennett and Pitts on the right and a neat back heel released Parsons inside the right front edge of the penalty area and his shot was saved low down by Thompson.

It was beginning to appear that despite all the pressure Cirencester were not destined to score as the home defence had been defending as if their very lives depended on it - throwing bodies in front of the many shots throughout.

Midway through the half Arlesey showed that they were still a threat going forward as Gallagher received a ball, to the left of the penalty spot, and as he was about to pull the trigger an alert Dunton poked the ball off his toe. It looked like Basmel might get to the free ball but again Dunton was first to react - pushing it wide for Jones to clear.

The action returned to the home box when Williams sent in a cross from the right for the diminutive Parsons to win a header near the penalty spot that Thompson caught at the second attempt.

Glyn Garner then sent a pin-point free kick to Jones on the right side of the area and his ball into the danger zone resulted in three shots being blocked in quick succession before it was launched downfield.  

The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute as a centre from Dean Mason on the left flank was met by the head of STEFAN BAILEY as he darted into the 6 yard box and got to the ball first.  1 – 0.

This was totally against the run of play but it encouraged the home side as a minute later Basmel made a driving run down the right channel of the penalty area before being cut off by a covering Jones.

Shortly afterwards a double save from Glyn Garner kept Cirencester in the game as Arlesey pushed forward. A long ball to Gallagher on the right flank enabled the forward to drive into the box and his shot, in a one-on-one with Garner, was saved by the ‘keeper’s legs at the near post. The ball rebounded wide for Gallagher to have another go from a narrower angle but once again Garner managed to block with his legs to concede a corner kick.

The now confident Arlesey created another opportunity when Powell made ground down the left flank to the penalty area and laid the ball off to Basmel who shot wide of the left post.

Cirencester had been under some pressure themselves during the last ten minutes but had not given the game up and with the introduction of Nat Jarvis they managed to get back on level terms as he was involved in a one-two with Dunton. Jarvis, on the front centre edge of the area, received a headed pass from Dunton and managed to control and flick it into the path of ELLIS DUNTON as he continued his run down the left channel of the penalty area. As the ball dropped Dunton headed it, from level with the penalty spot, over the advancing Thompson, who got a hand to it but not enough to prevent it crossing the line.  1 – 1. 

The Centurions searched for a winner and with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining Williams cut in from the left flank and fired a shot at goal that struck the cross-bar and rebounded to Bennett – but his effort was blocked.

This action was quickly followed by a cross from Pitts that found Jarvis on the front centre edge of the 6 yard box but his header was wide of the right post.

Gethin Jones was in action in the home penalty area as Cirencester pushed forward for a winner when he collected a Garner free kick but headed into the hands of Thompson.

Two minutes into ‘added-time’ Cirencester finally got their reward when they were awarded a free kick on the right flank. Williams sent a perfectly flighted kick into the area where ELLIS DUNTON made a determined run towards the penalty spot to place a superb header inside the left post. 1 – 2.


Final Score: 1 - 2


This was a difficult game that looked, despite their dominance, that Cirencester were destined not to win due to the determined defending of their opponents but this current squad has lots of character and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude that was rewarded in the end.

Once again a good team performance and the double save from Glyn Garner when they were 1 – 0 down was crucial as it kept them in the game.

The winning goal was extremely well executed and a fitting climax to the match. 

A special mention of ‘Mr Consistency’ – James Mortimer-Jones who on his 200th appearance for the Club produced another sound performance in front of the back four - enabling his two young team-mates Matt Liddiard and Brad Hooper the freedom to cover all areas of the pitch.


Attendance: 80                                 

Referee:      D. Bushell

 

ARLESEY TOWN:

1.   Nick Thompson
2.   Christian Tavernier
3.   Sam Willett
4.   Stefan Bailey
5.   Andre Maltay
6.   James Sage
7.   Martel Powell
8.   James Hatch  (C)
9.   Hallelujah Basmel
10.  Mark Gallagher
11.  Arafat Kabuye

12.  Reece Hackney          (Sam Willett-58mins)
14.  Liam McGovern
15.  Harry Carr                (Stefan Bailey-89mins)       
16.  Warren Plowright     
17.  Dean Mason     (Arafat Kabuye-65mins)

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.  Ben Wells
14.  Chris Knowles  (Brad Hooper-78mins)
15.  Ben Prictor
16.  Nat Jarvis                (James M-Jones-78mins)

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