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Southern League – Premier Division

2015-16

 

Cirencester Town   4 – 3   Dorchester Town   

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

 

The first home fixture of the Southern League Season for 2015-16 brought former Conference side Dorchester Town, who sit top of the table after one match following their 3-0 victory over Histon, to the Corinium Stadium.

Last season the Centurions won both encounters (6-1 at home and 1-0 away) but The Magpies have been busy recruiting new players during the close season and a tough game was expected.

The Cirencester squad was unchanged following the victory at Redditch United in the opening fixture.

The home side kicked off playing towards the Shed End of the ground on a perfect evening for football and despite Dorchester winning the ball immediately to mount an attack down their right flank it was Cirencester who scored the first goal after two minutes following a corner kick from the left. Zack Kotwica sent the kick long to the back post where Ben Brown was waiting to head it back across goal for CHARLIE GRIFFIN to pounce at the left post and head home from 2 yards.  1-0.

The first 15 minutes were frenetic as both sides played positive attacking football during which Brad Hooper struck a raking 50 yard pass from the left flank, on halfway, out to Aidan Bennett in the right corner. Bennett cut back to his left to cross but it was blocked and came back to him – he then slipped the ball inside to Hooper who had charged across the pitch to support his earlier pass but he was quickly closed down by the visitors defence and a goal kick was the result.

Not to be outdone by Bennett on the right, Kotwica collected a ball on the left and he also cut back to create an opening, on the front edge of the penalty area, before shooting. His effort was blocked but rebounded to Griffin, just inside the penalty area, who also shot at goal. Alan Walker-Harris in the visitor’s goal stopped the shot with his legs before dropping on the ball.

Midway through the half Ben Watson had a pot at goal for The Magpies, from the left front edge of the area, but it was wide of the left post. It was a sign that Dorchester were beginning to get forward more and increase the pressure on their hosts as shortly afterwards they won a corner kick on their right which Charlie Davis drove low and hard through the area – after a couple of half clearances the ball reached Jonah Ayunga who shot high over the bar from the right front edge of the area.  

During the next ten minutes Dorchester had a couple of shots at the target as Tony Lee hit an effort over the bar from the right front edge of the area and an Oakley Hanger cross on the overlap was initially blocked but fell to Davis who struck a low shot that was blocked.

The home side then had the misfortune to lose defender Ben Brown – who was having another powerful game in the centre of the defence – to injury and following his departure Gethin Jones moved into the centre and Aidan Bennett dropped to right back, with Ross Langworthy coming into the fray up front.

With five minutes of the half remaining The Magpies levelled the scores as a long clearance from the right side of their penalty area dropped in the right channel, 10 yards inside the Cirencester half, and a brief hesitation in the home defence enabled JONAH AYUNGA to get in first to head the ball into his path as he charged forward. He outstripped the cover as they were turning and from about 8 yards outside the area he deftly chipped the ball over the advancing Glyn Garner and inside the far left post.  1-1.

A couple of minutes later Dorchester had a chance to increase their score as a ball across the box from their right reached Bennett inside his area on the Dorchester left. He was immediately challenged and the ball broke free to Lee who shot wide of the left post from the edge of the 6 yard box.

Dorchester were pressing hard and took the lead on the stroke of half time as TONY LEE received a ball in the left channel of the Cirencester area as two covering defenders challenged him  he managed to retain possession and slip the ball under an advancing Garner from the narrowest of angles. The ball gently rolled towards goal with spectators waiting to see if it would enter the net, run out of steam before it got there or be cleared by a recovering defender. The answer was the former as it clipped the inside of the far right post and rebounded into the back of the net.  1-2.

Half Time:       1 – 2

Determined to bounce back, presumably after a half time ‘chat’ with manager Brian Hughes, the home side immediately took the game to their opponents and within five minutes a free kick on the right flank, taken by Kotwica, found Jones near the penalty spot and his powerful, downward header bounced in front of Walker-Harris and kicked up requiring the ‘keeper to pull off a reflex save to tip it over the bar.

Cirencester produced a move that took them from the left flank to the right as they searched for an opening but Dorchester held firm.

As a result of pushing forward the home side were caught on the counter-attack when Ayunga received a ball in space, in the left channel of the area, but Jones managed to get back to block his attempt at goal.

Seventeen minutes into the half Cirencester scored the equaliser they had been searching for as GETHIN JONES powerfully headed a Kotwica corner kick from the right into the net from just outside the centre front edge of the 6 yard box.  2-2.

Cirencester were buzzing and pressing their Dorset visitors and were awarded a free kick two minutes later in the left channel, five yards outside the Dorchester area. JOSH PARSONS stepped up and struck a sweet drive inside the top right corner of the net with Walker-Harris helpless to stop it.  3-2.

Half an hour into the half Jones again met a corner, this time from the left, with his head and it looked destined for the top left corner until a Magpie headed it out - but only as far as Ross Langworthy who struck a left footed volley against the crossbar, from the left front edge of the area, and when it rebounded back it fell to Jones who couldn’t get over the ball and his effort cleared the bar.

Dorchester were far from out of the contest and continued to close down their hosts to limit space and counter attacked quickly and from an attack on their right flank and subsequent cross the ball fell to a lurking MATT OLDRING, 25 yard out – right channel, and he switched the ball to his left foot and struck a low drive inside the left post with Garner unsighted.  3-3.  

With five minutes of normal time remaining a Kotwica corner kick from the right appeared to have been over-hit but Langworthy managed to collect it inside the far edge of the area and as he tried to cut-in his legs were taken out from under him and a penalty kick was awarded by referee Adam Matthews. JOSH PARSONS smashed the spot kick into the bottom left corner.  4-3.

As this enthralling game was drawing to a close Dorchester had a chance to secure a draw and a point as Ben Watson found himself in space and 1 v 1 with Garner but the ‘keeper used all his experience to thwart his opponent and retain the goal advantage.

Final Score:     4 - 3

This was a terrific game of football – full of goals, incident, passing football, endeavour - that was appreciated by all who attended.

The visitors put Cirencester under a lot of pressure particularly during the last 20 minutes of the first half and the home side had to show considerable character and resolve to recover from the two goals conceded in the five minutes before half time. They stuck to their task even after Dorchester had pulled them back to level at 3-3.

It was a terrific team effort.

 

Attendance:     110                              

Referee:          Adam Matthews

 

Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner

2.   Gethin Jones

3.   Ellis Dunton

4.   Ben Brown

5.   Brad Hooper

6.   Leigh Henry     (C)    

7.   Aidan Bennett                

8.   James Mortimer-Jones

9.   Charlie Griffin                  

10.  Josh Parsons

11.  Zack Kotwica                     

 

12.  Ross Langworthy    (Ben Brown-37mins)

14.  Jordan Ricketts     (Charlie Griffin-78mins)       

15.  Ben Wells

16.  Ollie Knight

17.  Connor Thompson   (GK)

 

 

Dorchester Town:

1.   Alan Walker-Harris

2.   Oakley Hanger

3.   Neil Martin

4.   Mark Jermyn

5.   Matt Oldring

6.   Jake Smeeton  (C)    

7.   Charlie Davis                   

8.   Lewis Morran

9.   Jonah Ayunga                    

10.  Ben Watson

11.  Tony Lee

 

12.  Mark Irvine            (Tony Lee-69mins)

14.  Nick Crittenden     (Oakley Hanger-77mins)

15.  Chris Dillon            (Lewis Moran-81mins)

16.  Jason Brookes       

17.  Shane Murphy  (GK)

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