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Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division

St. Neots Town    4 – 0   Cirencester Town   

Match Report by Dave Pyzer


After a long tortuous journey to Cambridgeshire, due to an accident on the M4 and long sections of the A1 coned off for future roadworks, the Centurions finally arrived at St. Neots twenty minutes before the scheduled kick off time. As a result kick-off was delayed until 3.15 p.m.

Before the game St. Neots were one point and one place above Cirencester in the league table and their form, over the last 6 games, places them 2nd to Cirencester 5th so a tight game was anticipated as both sides strive for the play-off places.

The Cirencester starting eleven saw the long awaited return of Captain Leigh Henry, who has only completed 50 minutes since 13th December due to injury, as he took his usual centre back berth with Gethin Jones moving to right back and Ian Herring switching to left back in place of the injured Ellis Dunton. It looks like Dunton’s season could be over due to Medial Collateral Ligament damage to his left knee sustained in the match against Truro City last week. Nat Jarvis took a seat on the bench following his hamstring problem.

When the game did eventually get underway St. Neots kicked off playing into the wind on a firm, flat pitch in bright sunshine and mounted their first attack down their left flank that resulted in a throw into the penalty area that was comfortably cleared.

This was quickly followed by a throw from their right flank that produced some 'head tennis' in the penalty area before finally being sent downfield.

Ed Williams partially blocked an attempted clearance on the right flank and the ball was collected by James Mortimer-Jones who played it over the back line towards the corner for Williams to chase but Paul Bastock in the home goal reached it first and cleared the danger.

Cirencester were showing signs of getting into the game and Mortimer-Jones, Matt Liddiard and Aidan Bennett exchanged passes on the right front edge of the penalty area trying to create an opening but the home defence stood firm.

On the quarter hour mark the home side opened the scoring when a ball came in from the left and bounced in the area before being collected by LEE CLARKE, to the left of the penalty spot, and he tucked the ball into the back of the net with his left foot as the challenge came in.  

 1-0.

A few minutes later Cirencester nearly levelled the score when Williams drove a free kick from the right, 10 yards inside the St. Neots, to the back post where after a couple of challenges the ball fell to Jacob Davidge who stabbed it goalwards. The ball looked destined for the inside of the left post until 'keeper Bastock intervened with a low save that resulted in a corner kick. The resultant kick led to a series of crosses until Gethin Jones headed wide of the left post.

Just after the mid-point of the half Steve Abbley managed to get in the action as a deep cross from the left flank grazed the top of Liddiard's head to be caught by the Cirencester Chairman in the stand to the right of the home goal.

As the half hour approached Brett Longden dashed down the right and crossed the ball but Pritchett managed to get a block in to concede a corner kick and from this Cirencester counter-attacked for Brad Hooper to shoot from 30 yards, left of centre, and Bastock had to be alert to save - low to his left.

With ten minutes of the first half remaining the home side were awarded a free kick ten yards inside their half that Ryan Frater drove down the right channel, with a low trajectory, to Drew Roberts on the right front edge of the area. Roberts collected the ball and immediately took the shot on but Garner managed to block for a corner kick. The kick, from the right, was met at the back post by the head of Tom Ward but his effort was wide of the left post.

As half time approached Cirencester pushed forward searching for an equaliser and following a Williams corner kick from the left Pritchett's header, from right of the penalty spot, was deflected wide for a corner kick on the right. The home side cleared the ball and mounted an attack down their left flank through Lewis Hilliard who carried the ball 30 yards before cutting right, on the left front edge of the area, and shooting wide of the right post.

On the stroke of half time St. Neots doubled their score when a free kick on the right flank into the box was punched out by Garner but was quickly sent back towards the penalty spot by Adam Tann. TOM WARD was still lurking following the previous kick and he collected, turned and fired a low left footed shot in one move inside the left post.  2-0.

Half Time:   2 – 0

 

Cirencester started the half quickly with an exchange of passes between Mortimer-Jones, Jones, Liddiard and Bennett involved as the ball was moved from right to left before being cleared by the home defence.

A couple of minutes later it was the left flank of the visitors who came to the fore as Ian Herring carried the ball to the corner resulting in a throw-in. Williams received the throw and jinked around a couple of challenges before being outnumbered for the ball to be cleared down the home sides right flank. Roberts laid the ball off to Longden and he drove it to the back post for a corner kick to be conceded.

There was a moment of contention ten minutes into the half as when Garner attempted to punt the ball downfield he was blocked by Clarke who chased after the deflected ball and passed it inside to Mat Mitchell-King - 25 yards out, left channel - but he shot over the bar. Garner remonstrated with the Assistant Referee having expected a free kick to be awarded.

Within minutes Ryan Frater was awarded a Yellow Card following a collision as Bennett chased a ball down the right channel.

The game then entered a 'feisty' period as the teams sought to get on top and just after the mid-point of the half there was a long delay as Liddiard needed treatment for a bleeding nose following a collision as he competed for a high ball. He then had to leave the field to complete the treatment for a couple of minutes.

Just before the half hour mark a ball from the centre of the pitch found Nat Jarvis in space as he charged forward and beyond the home back line. As he reached the centre front edge of the area he shot but Bastock had left his line early in anticipation and managed to get his fingers to the ball to deflect it over the bar.

With six minutes of normal time remaining Roberts took a free kick, from the left channel, which was deflected high and wide of the right post for a corner kick. Following the kick the ball was worked back out to Roberts on the right and he crossed to the back post where TOM WARD powerfully headed home.  3–0.

As the game drew to a close the home side were dominating proceedings and a break down their left by Jack Wilkinson ended with a low shot past the far post and in the final minute of normal time a back-pass was collected by NATHAN FRATER and he rounded Garner to tap the ball into the empty net.  4-0.  

In the dying seconds there was a last throw of the dice from the visitors as Bennett crossed from the left and Ryan Frater nearly deflected it into his own net but Bastock managed to smother it.


Final Score: 4 - 0


The match didn’t produce the expected tight encounter although the first ten minutes was ‘cagey’ as the two sides probed one another.

Cirencester showed glimpses of what they could do but not enough to break through a well organised, powerful home back line.

In the second half the Centurions had to push forward in an effort to reduce the arrears but the home defence stood firm and the Saints controlled the final ten minutes.

Attendance: 428                               

Referee:      Josh Smith

 

ST. NEOTS TOWN:

   1.   Paul Bastock
   2.   Adam Tann    (C)               YC-76mins
   3.   Jack Wilkinson
   4.   Mat Mitchel-King
   5.   Ryan Frater                     YC-56mins
   6.   Tom Ward
   7.   Lewis Hilliard
   8.   Matt Spring
   9.   Lee Clarke
  10.   Drew Roberts
  11.   Brett Longden

  12.   Josh Bickerstaff   (Brett Longden-82mins)
  14.   Sam Harty
  15.   Bruce Wilson                   (Lee Clarke-88mins)
  16.   Nathan Frater                 (Matt Spring-61mins)
  17.   Lorenzo Ferrari



CIRENCESTER TOWN:

   1.   Glyn Garner
   2.   Gethin Jones
   3.   Ian Herring                     YC-78mins
   4.   Mark Pritchett
   5.   Matt Liddiard
   6.   Leigh Henry  (C)
   7.   Brad Hooper
   8.   James Mortimer-Jones
   9.   Jacob Davidge
  10.   Aidan Bennett
  11.   Ed Williams

  12.   Ben Wells              (Brad Hooper-76mins)
  14.   Nat Jarvis             (Jacob Davidge-58mins)
  15.   Jordan Ricketts
  16.   Ollie Knight           (James M-Jones-87mins)

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