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Pre-Season Friendly

 

Cirencester Town   3 – 0  Forest Green Rovers

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

 

Forest Green Rovers, who were involved in the National League play-offs at the end of last season, were the visitors to the Corinium Stadium for the final pre-season fixture.

The Green Devils played a friendly against Plymouth Argyle the previous evening where only twelve of the squad featured and it was expected that many of the rest would be on display to press their claims for a starting place when the league season commences next week.

Cirencester started with the expected back five for the first league fixture and a midfield that included Ian Herring, who will not be available for the first three matches, Brad Hooper and James Mortimer-Jones. The front three had a different look in that the speedy Zak Kotwica – on loan from Cheltenham Town – was on the right flank and Aidan Bennett the left, with Charlie Griffin down the middle.

Cirencester kicked off playing towards the Arena end of the ground, into a strong diagonal wind, and almost immediately produced a move on the right involving Gethin Jones, Brad Hooper and Zak Kotwica that released Aidan Bennett into the corner where he crossed towards the near post but it was gathered-in by ‘keeper Paul White.

The response from Rovers was a cross from the left that Kurtis Guthrie met with his head, to the left of the penalty spot, but his effort was comfortably caught by Glyn Garner in the centre of his goal.

The visitors enjoyed a period of possession and began to look to push forward but a well organised and hard working Cirencester team were competing for everything and Rovers were unable to get behind them resulting in long range efforts such as the one from Guthrie that flew wide of the target – high and left of the goal.

Once the ball was won the Centurions attacked down their flanks, leading to a number of free kicks in good positions and as the first quarter hour was approaching James Mortimer-Jones played one into the left corner for Ellis Dunton to collect. His passage was blocked so he played the ball back to ‘Jonah’ who moved it on to Leigh Henry on the left front edge of the penalty area. Henry laid it off to Ian Herring and he struck a fierce right footed drive over the bar from 8 yards outside the area.

A couple of minutes later Rovers mounted a counter attack down the centre of the pitch, when under pressure in their box, and this resulted in a shot from Keanu Marsh Brown from 30 yards that deflected off Ben Brown causing Garner to re-adjust his position to tip the ball over his bar.

Shortly after the mid-point of the half Bennett received the ball on the right and carried it to the right side edge of the penalty area before cutting back to his left and from the front corner of the box he unleashed a powerful left footed drive towards the top left corner of the Rovers goal that White could only parry. This was to be repeated later with an end product.

Two minutes later a Mortimer-Jones free kick, on half way, was headed out by a visiting defender but it fell to Hooper, left channel – 20 yards out, and he struck a right footed half-volley that White caught.

As the half hour point was approaching Dunton collected a loose ball on half way, left of centre, and seeing space in front of him he began a run that took him across the centre circle and down the right channel. As he reached a point 15 yard inside the Rovers half he slid the ball inside the full back for AIDAN BENNETT to run on to but the centre back had come across to cover and there was confusion between the defenders enabling Bennett to win the ball. He then repeated his earlier move by cutting to his left and rifling a left footed shot into the top left corner of the goal.  1 – 0.

A few minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick just outside the box, left channel, and Charlie Griffin stepped up to curl his effort towards the top left corner requiring White to scamper across his goal-line to keep out producing a corner kick.

A move down the right flank to Bennett and then back to a supporting Herring resulted in a deep cross to the back post where White managed to push it off the head of Griffin.

Half Time:       1 – 0

The second half started quietly but was brought to life when Gethin Jones intercepted a ball 15 yards outside his penalty area and advanced downfield – as he entered the Rovers half he played the ball out to Kotwica on the left flank. Kotwica made ground and then cut back sharply to his right from just inside the left side edge of the penalty area resulting in a tackle from Charlie Clough that put him to the ground and the referee duly awarded a penalty kick. CHARLIE GRIFFIN stepped up and placed his shot inside the left post as White dived towards the right post.  2 – 0.

Cirencester then replaced Leigh Henry with Jordan Ricketts and this required a re-organisation of the back four as Gethin Jones moved into the centre and Ian Herring to right back.

On the hour mark of the match Hooper received the ball from the left and carried it forward for 10 yards before moving it on to Bennett on his right who, as he entered the right channel of the box, fired a powerful right footed shot that James Jennings managed to block resulting in a corner kick.

Midway through the half Marsh Brown received a ball on the front edge of the Cirencester penalty area, left corner, and moved to his right looking for an opening – eventually striking his right footed shot towards the top right corner where Garner tipped it over the bar.

Forest Green were pushing forward and putting Cirencester under a little pressure but came unstuck again when the persistent AIDAN BENNETT, who had moved into the centre when Griffin was replaced by Ollie Knight, robbed a defender and advanced towards goal, moving to his left he rounded White before tucking the ball into the back of the net.  3 – 0.  

With 8 minutes remaining a long cross-field pass from Forest Green cleared the pitch barriers and produced the unusual sight of a spectator, Ray Herring, heading the ball back towards the pitch to be caught by his son, Ian Herring, to take a throw-in.

In the last five minutes Rovers had a couple of attempts on goal as Jennings sent a free kick from the left flank to the left side of the area where Guthrie collected but miss-hit his shot. This was quickly followed by another free kick from Corby Moore – 25 yards out, centre – that was partially blocked taking the pace out of it so that Garner was able to catch easily.

The final goal mouth action came in the final minute as the ball was headed out to Hooper in the left channel, 20 yards out, and he volleyed the ball back towards goal but wide of the left post.        

Final Score:     3 - 0

This was by far the best pre-season performance from the Centurions over 90 minutes as they matched their opponents from two grades higher in the football pyramid with determined running, closing down, commitment and organisation.

The defence was well organised and resolute, the midfield energetic and once the ball was won the pace of the on-loan Zak Kotwica complimented the power of Aidan Bennett and the work rate and guile of Charlie Griffin. 

Attendance:   147                                                        Referee:          Rob Cockle

 

 CIRENCESTER TOWN:

 1.   Glyn Garner

 2.   Gethin Jones                                            

 3.   Ellis Dunton

 4.   Ben Brown                         

 5.   Brad Hooper                     

 6.   Leigh Henry   (C)                          

 7.   Ian Herring                                  

 8.   James Mortimer-Jones

 9.   Charlie Griffin                  Pen-54 mins                 

10.   Aidan Bennett                   29, 70 mins     

11.   Zak Kotwica

 

12.   Jordan Ricketts                (Leigh Henry-56mins)              

14.   Ollie Knight                       (Charlie Griffin-62mins)

17.   Sam Farr                                      

 

FOREST GREEN ROVERS:

 1.   Paul White

 24.  Macauley Dobson

  4.   Charlie Clough                             

 25.  James Jennings               

 21.  Aiden Baldwin                  

  9.   Keanu Marsh Brown                                 

 22.  Lou McGrory

  2.   Dave Pipe             

 18.  Tom Bender                      

 17.  Kurtis Guthrie                  

 14.  Corby Moore                    

 

 GK.   Jon Maxted                                           

 28.   Joe Stokes                      (K Marsh Brown-73mins)                      

 35.   Elliot Frear                      (Charlie Clough-80mins)                                  

 

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