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Pre-Season Friendly

Cirencester Town   0 – 3  Cheltenham Town

 

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

 

The Corinium Stadium welcomed near neighbours Cheltenham Town for the first pre-season friendly in the lead-up to the 2015-16 season.
 
As a result of their relegation to the National League (formerly the Conference League) at the end of last season the Robins have undergone significant changes in personnel during the close season with Manager Gary Johnson bringing in 11 new players – 10 of these recent recruits would be in action during the match. This would no doubt enable the Manager to assess the progress made in terms of the ‘gelling’ process with new team-mates against unknown opposition from that provided in a training environment.
A number of ‘Robins’ supporters had made the short journey to the match to get their first glimpse of the new arrivals.
 
The Centurions Manager, Brian Hughes, (a former Cheltenham Town player) also had a number of new faces to review in a match situation and in the first half both Managers put out teams that might be close to their starting elevens when the season commences for real.
 
The visitors put out a totally different team for the second half with several ‘home-grown’ players involved. Cirencester made nine changes at half time with trialists and Development squad members added to the mix.
 
Cirencester kicked off on a firm pitch in dry, bright conditions playing towards the Arena end of the ground and immediately attacked down their left flank. It was evident from the first few minutes that the players were keen to get back into action and the initial exchanges were certainly quick and feisty as the teams settled.
The home side took the game to Cheltenham in the opening minutes as Ellis Dunton – playing his first game since the end of February due to an MCL injury – made a driving run down their left flank before moving the ball on to Charlie Griffin resulting in a throw in the left corner. A few minutes later Dunton was in action again as he provided a deep cross to the back post that Griffin tried to get on the end of but it was headed clear. 
After the initial ten minute flurry of activity at the Cheltenham end of the pitch the visitors began to settle and a move down their left flank resulted in Billy Waters crossing to Harry Pell, near the right front corner of the penalty area, but his shot cleared the bar.
 
A couple of minutes later Danny Wright found himself through on goal, just outside the right front edge of the 6 yard box, but his effort was well saved by young Academy goalkeeper Josh Langley low to his left – resulting in a corner kick, followed by a goal kick. 
With quarter of an hour gone Cheltenham were enjoying more of the ball and putting the home defence under pressure as they searched for an opening but Cirencester were capable of flowing moves of their own and following a series of passes down their right flank involving Ian Herring, Kyle Pitts, Jordan Ricketts and Josh Parsons the ball was fed back to Pitts, near the front edge of the visitors penalty area, and he cut in to send a left footed drive over the bar.
 
A few minute later Waters popped up in the right corner and crossed to the back post where Pell’s header was easily gathered by Langley. 
As the mid-point of the half was approaching Griffin produced a deft flick down the centre of the pitch that Parsons latched on to but he was quickly closed down and the threat was averted.
  
Almost immediately Cheltenham could have opened their account as Wright and Langley engaged in a close personal duel as the former collected a loose ball and tried to dribble round the ‘keeper but Langley refused to be beaten and eventually managed to drop on the ball.
 
A home attack down their left flank was stopped in its tracks and the ball was quickly switched to the Robins left to produce a counter attack that resulted in a cross from the left corner that Wright met on the front edge of the 6 yard box but his attempted side-foot was easily collected by Langley.
 
As the pressure built on the home defence Waters again managed to cross from the right corner to Pell at the back post but his header was wide of the target.
 
Just after the half hour point the busy Pell laid the ball back to Jack Munns who was lurking on the front edge of the penalty area, left corner, and he moved to his right to work an opening before shooting into the arms of the grateful Langley.
With seven minutes of the half remaining good work on the right flank between Ricketts and Griffin created room for Griffin to send a deep cross into the box but this was easily cleared by the visitors defence. 
The last meaningful action of the half came with a couple of minutes remaining as a dangerous corner kick from the visitors left was headed out from under the crossbar by Dunton. 
Half Time: 0 - 0

Cheltenham started the second half very strongly and within two minutes James Bowen on halfway, left flank, struck a raking ball towards Omari Sterling-James on the right and the resulting cross into the box was cleared by Tyrone Lee. This was quickly followed by a right footed shot from the front edge of the penalty area that clipped the outside of the left post. 
The young Robins had got the bit between their teeth as Harry Williams cut in from the left before feeding the ball out to an overlapping Bowen and his cross went through the front edge of the home sides 6 yard box with no-one on hand to finish. 
In the 7th minute of the half Cheltenham finally opened their account as ZACK KOTWICA collected a ball on the front edge of the area, left of centre, and neatly tucked it inside the bottom left of the goal with his right foot.  0 – 1
Encouraged by this success Kotwica struck another right footed shot six minutes later from 25 yards, left channel, that required concentration from new ‘keeper Sam Hassan as it swerved en-route to goal. 
Due to the pressure from the visitors Cirencester mounted counter attacks and debutant Ross Langworthy (recently of Shortwood United) latched on to a through ball but as he drove down the left channel of the area a great recovery tackle produced a left wing corner kick. 
The movement of Cheltenham was creating openings and a quick turn and shot from Sterling-James, 25 yards out - centre of the pitch, fizzed over the bar. 
Shortly after the mid-point of the half Brad Hooper took a free kick for Cirencester from 25 yards, left of centre, and ‘keeper Calum Kitscha quickly moved to his right to catch inside his post.
 
The action then went back to the home end as good work from Williams on the right side of the area produced a shot that Hassan parried before bravely diving at the feet of an opponent to collect the ball. 
Cirencester mounted an attack down their right and when the resulting cross from the corner was punched out by Kitscha it fell to Robbie James, 25 yards out, but his shot was comfortably caught by Kitscha.
 
With eleven minutes of normal time remaining Lee Vaughan struck a shot from 30 yards that Hassan tipped over the bar at full stretch resulting in a corner kick and from this the visitors increased their lead as the ball found JOE HANKS and his fierce drive from 20 yards struck the underside of the bar on its way into the net. 0 – 2
As the game drew to a close Langworthy made a driving run down the right that led to a corner kick but Cirencester were unable to open their account. 
On the stroke of 90 minutes LEE VAUGHAN  cut in on the right front edge of the area, evaded a couple of challenges and fired the ball into the top corner of the goal to complete the scoring. 0 – 3.
 
Final Score: 0 - 3

A good work-out for everyone involved on a warm day. 
In the first half Cirencester showed some attacking potential, with Charlie Griffin and Josh Parsons linking well, whilst remaining solid at the back. Debutant Ben Brown (recently of Oxford City) looked comfortable alongside Leigh Henry in the back four and Ellis Dunton appears to have recovered from the injury that brought his 2014-15 season to a premature end. 
In the second half the mixture of First Team, Development Team and trialists meant there was little cohesion about the performance especially as they were up against a side that has been together much longer and trains together on a full-time basis.
 
Next up Bristol Rovers on Tuesday 14th July – hope to see you at the Corinium.
 
Attendance:  393
 
Referee:  Mike Halford
 
CIRENCESTER TOWN:
 
First Half:
1.   Josh Langley
2.   Kyle Pitts
3.   Ellis Dunton
4.   Ben Brown
5.   Ian Herring
6.   Leigh Henry   (C)
7.   Jordan Ricketts  
8.   James Mortimer-Jones 
9.   Charlie Griffin
10.  Josh Parsons
11.   Ollie Knight
 
Second Half:
1.   Sam Hassan
2.   Ian Herring/Ellis Dunton
3.   Tyrone Lee
4.   Callum Henry
5.   Robbie James
6.   Gethin Jones
7.   Jordan Ricketts/Max Lloyd
8.   Brad Hooper
9.   Ross Langworthy
10. Callum Parsons
11.  Aidan Bennett
 
CHELTENHAM TOWN:
 
First Half:
 1.   Dillon Phillips
 6.   Jack Barthram
 2.   George McLennan
 5.   Aaron Downes
 4.   Kyle Storer
21.   Danny Parslow
14.   Jack Munns  
12.   Billy Waters 
16.   Danny Wright
10.   Amari Morgan-Smith
 7.   Harry Pell 
Second Half:
?.     Calum Kitscha
18.    Lee Vaughan
3.     James Bowen
15.   Jack Deaman
17.   Niall Rowe
8.     Joe Hanks
19.   Zack Kotwica
20.   Omari Sterling-James
9.     Bobby Dale
11.    Harry Williams
?.     Adam Page
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