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FA Trophy 2015/16 - 1st Round Qualifying


Cirencester Town   2 – 1   North Leigh   

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


High flying North Leigh of the South & West Division were the opponents for The Centurions at the Corinium Stadium for this FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying match.

North Leigh currently sit in 2nd place in their division – 3 points behind Cinderford Town, with a game in hand, but slightly inferior goal difference. Within their ranks they have three former Corinium favourites in Wayne Turk, Zak Westlake and Jon Else who would undoubtedly wish to get one over their former Club.

The starting eleven for Cirencester had one change from the side that obtained a draw at Bideford as Shayne Anson came into the back four, having completed his three match suspension, at the expense of Mark Pritchett who dropped to the bench. Ellis Dunton moved across to his more customary left back position to accommodate this.  

Cirencester kicked off playing towards the Arena end of the ground in perfect conditions – cool and dry – and started to probe their opponents who responded in like fashion so that the early stages were frantic with neither side able to retain possession for long.

The first attempt at goal came in the 6th minute as Matt Liddiard turned and fired a right footed shot from the front edge of the North Leigh penalty area, right channel, that fizzed wide of the left post with the home side strongly appealing for a corner kick as they felt the ball had taken a slight deflection off a North Leigh defender.

Cirencester were working hard, closing down their opponents quickly to recover the ball and when Brad Hooper received the ball in the centre he laid it off to Ellis Dunton on the left flank who clipped the ball down the line where Ollie Knight flicked it towards the left corner, chased and crossed but the ball was blocked for a corner kick that was cleared but the signs of more adventure from the home side were evident.

A sequence of passes in the left corner involving Hooper and Liddiard, back to Dunton, inside to James Mortimer-Jones, back to Dunton, forward to Knight - a cross towards the penalty spot for Charlie Griffin to chest down and shoot over the bar with his left foot as he darted forward soon followed.  

Just before the mid-point of the half North Leigh counter attacked on their right flank and when the ball reached Jamie Cook in the right channel he cut left and fired a fierce left footed shot wide of the left post.

A few minutes later Cook received the ball in the right corner and as he drove towards the Cirencester penalty area Dunton won the ball and started a counter attack that several passes later he collected further down the field, played the ball inside the opposing defender for a charging Hooper to collect and win a corner kick.

Ross Langworthy took the kick and sent it towards the front edge of the 6 yard box where CHARLIE GRIFFIN on the run powerfully headed home, inside the left post.  1-0.

Just after the half hour mark Callum McNish received the ball in space, 10 yards inside the Cirencester half, turned and advanced towards the home penalty area. As he approached the centre front edge of the box he slipped the ball to his left for Cook who was moving left across the front edge of the area and he collected, moved into the area, and fired a fierce left footed shot towards the far right post. Glyn Garner dived to his left to parry the shot and it was cleared.

Encouraged McNish then attempted an ambitious shot from 25 yards that passed wide of the left post.

As the half entered the last ten minutes North Leigh were moving forward with more confidence and Morgan Williams struck a curling left footed free kick from wide on the right flank towards the far left post where Garner managed to push it wide of his right post for a corner kick.

This was quickly followed by Jon Else receiving the ball on the right, moving to the bye-line before crossing a ball that passed through the front edge of the 6 yard box without contact and out.

With two minutes of the half remaining a defensive pass back from the left flank was missed by visiting ‘keeper James Foster but he calmly turned, collected, and passed it out to a team-mate on the front edge of his box and a sequence of passes across the box followed until they moved the ball forward.

Half Time:       1 – 0

During the half time interval Mark Pritchett replaced Ben Brown who appeared to have a tight hamstring and within three minutes Miles Welsh-Hayes replaced Callum McNish for the visitors as he had not recovered from a tackle he received in the first half.

Cirencester made a perfect start as they increased their lead five minutes into the half when LEIGH HENRY headed inside the near post from another Langworthy corner kick from the left.  2-0.

A minute later Liddiard received the ball on the left side edge of the North Leigh penalty area and as he moved into the box he was looking for support - cutting right he laid the ball back to Griffin who struck his shot wide of the right post.

The dangerous Cook received the ball on the right flank and crossed towards the penalty spot where Hooper did well to defend and clear the ball under pressure.

North Leigh were awarded a free kick just inside the Cirencester half and quickly shot at goal with Garner back-peddling the ball dropped over the bar.

Quarter of an hour into the half Langworthy intercepted a pass in the centre, 25 yards out, and moved to his left before striking his shot wide of the left post.

With nothing to lose the visitors were pushing forward and putting their hosts under pressure and their effort was rewarded as Elliott Osborne-Ricketts made a break down the right channel, cut back and laid the ball into the path of JAMIE COOK a few yards further back and without hesitation he fired a powerful shot inside the left post to reduce the deficit.  2-1.  

Cirencester responded to this and pressed the visitors for a period as they moved the ball from right to left until Liddiard shot from the left side of the area but his effort was saved.

A minute later substitute Zack Kotwica found himself free on the left and after moving right he shot but once again the effort was saved.

Visiting ‘keeper Foster sliced a clearance kick straight to Josh Parsons, right channel – 25 yards out, who moved left, rounded his opponent and shot towards the left post. Foster dived to his right and pushed the ball wide of his post for a corner kick that failed to reach the area.

With five minutes remaining North Leigh had the ball in the back of the Cirencester net but the Assistant Referee had his flag raised for an offside offence earlier in the move.  

This decision spurred on North Leigh and within a minute Williams collected the ball on the left front corner of the home penalty area and sent a cross towards the far right post where Welsh-Hayes dashed forward but just failed to make contact with the goal at his mercy.

North Leigh continued to push forward but Cirencester held on to move into the next round of the competition.

Final Score:     2 - 1

Cirencester started each half well and played some neat passing football but North Leigh showed their spirit as they finished the halves strongly.

During the final stages of the match North Leigh put Cirencester under a lot of pressure and the home side will be relieved to have secured the victory.   

Hopefully it will help to restore some confidence as next week they travel to play Leamington who are currently in second place in the Premier Division table.


Attendance:     88                               

Referee:          Chris Husband



 1.  Glyn Garner
 2.  Shayne Anson                                
 3.  Ellis Dunton
 4.  Ben Brown
 5.  Brad Hooper
 6.  Leigh Henry   (C)                         50
 7.  Matt Liddiard
 8.  James Mortimer-Jones
 9.  Charlie Griffin                               25
10.  Ollie Knight
11.  Ross Langworthy

12.  Josh Parsons                    (Ross Langworthy-70mins)
14.  Connor Thompson              
15.  Zack Kotwica                    (Ollie Knight-67mins)
16.  Aidan Bennett
17.  Mark Pritchett                   (Ben Brown-46mins)



 1.  James Foster
 2.  Jon Else
 3.  Michael Hopkins                
 4.  Sam Elkins
 5.  Zak Westlake
 6.  Stuart Hole
 7.  Elliott Osborne-Ricketts
 8.  Wayne Turk   (C)
 9.  Jamie Cook                                     71
10.  Callum McNish
11.  Morgan Williams

12.  Miles Welsh-Hayes            (Callum McNish-48mins)
14.  Jozef Fullerton                   (Jon Else-87mins)
15.  Lewis White                      (Zak Westlake-53mins)
16.  Ben Taylor (GK)

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