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Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup – 1st Round


Cirencester Town   2 – 5   Bristol Rovers   

 Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


Current County Cup holders Cirencester, looking to get back to winning ways following their defeat at Slough on Saturday, hosted a young Bristol Rovers side for this First Round tie.

The home starting eleven had a few changes from Saturday with Gethin Jones unwell and Leigh Henry rested, James Mortimer-Jones moved to right back and Mark Pritchett made his first start of the season at centre back. Zack Kotwica was unavailable as his parent club, Cheltenham Town, also enter a team in the competition and Aidan Bennett took his place on the left flank. As a result of James Mortimer-Jones moving to right back Ollie Knight made his first start for the team in mid-field.

Cirencester kicked off playing towards the Shed End of the ground on a dry evening, perfect for football and after playing the ball across their back four, from left to right, mounted an attack down the right flank through Aidan Bennett. As he neared the corner he squared the ball to Ollie Knight who shot wide of the left post from the centre front edge of the area.

Shortly afterwards Ross Langworthy carried the ball into the right corner and won a corner kick when his attempted cross was blocked. Knight took the kick and sent it to the back post where Josh Parsons was lurking, causing his opponent to turn it behind for a corner kick from the left. Parsons took this kick but it was too long enabling the visitors to clear and break down their left flank. Fortunately for the home side they also over-hit the long pass down the line enabling James Mortimer-Jones to tidy up.

Five minutes into the game Langworthy was released into the left channel of the visitor’s penalty area where he had a 1 v 1 with ‘keeper Kieran Preston and when he fired a fierce, low shot the ‘keeper did well to save with his legs.

The home side had started well but the young Rovers were soon in the game as Cristian Montano made a couple of strong runs down their left flank and from his first the resulting cross was met by the head of Billy Bodin but it lacked the power to get past Glyn Garner in the home goal.

Within  a minute CRISTIAN MONTANO was in the action again as a free kick was awarded to Rovers – 25 yards out, left channel – and he stepped up to take the kick. With one step he stroked a sublime curling effort that cleared the defensive wall and entered the goal in the top left corner. Such was the quality of the strike Glyn Garner could only watch (and admire).  0-1.  

Three minutes later Montano made another excursion into the Cirencester half as a long punt from Preston reached him on an over-lapping run down his left flank. When he reached the side edge of the area he crossed the ball, it just cleared Mark Pritchett and reached BILLY BODIN to the right of the penalty spot. Bodin’s touch tempted Garner to advance but the striker got to the ball first and he ‘scooped’ it over Garner and followed up to tap into the vacant net. 0-2.

The Bodin/Montano combination was in evidence again as Bodin chased after and caught a ball in the right corner and from there he played a deep cross to the back post where Montano collected and sent it towards Ryan Broom who had continued his forward run from right back to the right channel of the home penalty area. As Broom was lining up his shot the ball was taken off his toe.

Cirencester pulled a goal back when Preston attempted a clearance from near his bye-line, left side, but he sliced his kick. The ball reached OLLIE KNIGHT on the right front edge of the area and as the ‘keeper desperately ran back to his goal the youngster calmly took aim and drove a low, measured shot with his left foot inside the right post for his first senior goal for Cirencester.  1-2.

As the mid-point of the half approached Rovers were awarded a free kick from a more central position, 35 yards out – right of centre, and once again Montano stepped up to take it. This time his kick was heading for the top right corner but Garner dived full length to tip the ball round his post for a corner kick that was defended.

When Rovers attacked down the centre a little later Mark Pritchett made one of his trademark full-blooded, block tackles that brought the move to an abrupt end – welcome back Pritch.

As the half entered the last quarter of an hour Cirencester pushed forward looking for an equaliser. Ben Brown drove the ball down the right channel where Charlie Griffin headed it back to Bennett who promptly cut inside and slipped it through to Langworthy but his shot from the right front edge of the area was blocked.

Cirencester then put together several passes as they worked their way down the right flank with Brown, Langworthy, Bennett and Parsons all involved until the final pass was over-hit enabling Preston to collect.

Shortly afterwards the ball was fed to Bennett on the right who saw Preston off his line so he attempted a lob but it did not have the power to clear the ‘keeper.

On the stroke of half time Bodin took a free kick, 35 yards out – right channel, that once again required Garner to dive full length to tip round his left post for a corner kick which was successfully defended on the Cirencester right flank.  

Half Time:       1 – 2

Following the re-start Cirencester won the ball and produced a move that went from right to left but once again the final pass into Bennett in the centre was over-hit enabling Preston to collect the ball.

Cirencester had come out in determined mood and Rovers were mounting quick breaks on the counter once they had obtained possession of the ball and from one break the ball was fed to Blake Davies, wide on the right, and he darted forward and crossed from the corner. The ball went through the front edge of the 6yard box and out the other side with two supporting team-mates just unable to reach it.

As Cirencester were getting into their stride Rovers scored two goals to knock the stuffing out of them as once again CRISTIAN MONTANO took one step before stroking a centrally positioned free kick from 25 yards inside the right post. As with his earlier goal Glyn Garner could only watch - such was the accuracy of the kick. 1-3.

Not to be outdone BILLY BODIN then scored his second of the evening as a cross-field pass was intercepted and fed to him in the left channel of the penalty area. As Garner came out to cut him off he once again produced his favourite ‘scoop’ over the ‘keeper and under the bar. 1-4.

Following the goal both he and Montano were replaced.

The Rovers youngsters increased the pace and when Broom fed Davies he took the ball to the right corner before crossing into the box where it was deflected out to Tom Fry in the right channel but outside the area. Fry struck a fierce shot on the run that Garner did well to save low down inside his left post.  

To their credit Cirencester were still having a go and on the mid-point of the half Bennett chased a ball into the right corner, played it inside to Knight, out to James Mortimer-Jones who sent a deep cross towards the far left post. Charlie Griffin, under pressure, headed the ball but it went up into the air and back towards the left of the penalty spot. As it dropped JOSH PARSONS had read the trajectory and arrived first to place a right footed volley inside the right post.  2-4.  

Encouraged Cirencester pushed forward but ten minutes after their goal Rovers put the tie to bed when a break down their left flank resulted in a cross along the front of the home penalty area to an unmarked BLAKE DAVIES on the right who wasted no time in shooting inside the left post.  2-5.

With five minutes of normal time remaining Cirencester were awarded a free kick 35 yards out, right channel. Parsons took the kick but it struck the crossbar and rebounded out for Knight to collect. Knight crossed to the back post and it was headed out for Bennett to strike a right footed volley from the centre front edge of the box but this was blocked.  

Shortly afterwards Bennett was injured in a challenge and this brought the familiar sight of veteran and legend Jody Bevan on to the pitch for the final few minutes.

Final Score:     2 - 5

This was a better, more committed performance from Cirencester than that witnessed on Saturday but the young guns of Bristol Rovers were clinical with their free kicks and lively in their support play.


Attendance:     30                               

Referee:          Richard Morris


Cirencester Town:

1.   Glyn Garner

2.   James Mortimer-Jones

3.   Ian Herring            (C)

4.   Ben Brown

5.   Brad Hooper

6.   Mark Pritchett

7.   Ross Langworthy              

8.   Ollie Knight                                    17

9.   Charlie Griffin                                                      

10.  Josh Parsons                                  68

11.  Aidan Bennett                   


12.  Leigh Henry                     

15.  Jody Bevan                        (Aidan Bennett-84mins)       


Bristol Rovers:

1.   Kieron Preston

2.   Ryan Broom    

3.   Cristian Montano                            9, 54

4.   Tyler Lyttle    

5.   Alfie Kilgoub

6.   Danny Greenslade    

7.   Jay Malpas                                 

8.   Dominic Thomas

9.   Blake Davies                                   78                   

10.  Billy Bodin                                      12, 58

11.  George Corp


12.  Ollie Mehew                       (Billy Bodin-58mins)

14.  Bradley Confrey                

15.  Tom Fry                             (George Corp-46mins)

16.   Elliot Green                       (Cristian Montano-58mins)      

25.  Charlie Phillips

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