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Evo Stik Southern League 2015/16

Premier Division

 

 Kettering Town   4 – 3   Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

 

In the second of their run of three away matches on the bounce Cirencester travelled to Kettering Town who, before the match, were one place above them in the Premier Division Table (12th) with 50 points from 32 games. The Cirencester record was 13th, 47 points from 35 games. 

In terms of current form Kettering were 7th in the '6-Match Form Guide' table to Cirencester's 15th.

The Cirencester starting eleven included the return of Ben Prictor at left back following his long absence due to an ACL injury – he has been gaining fitness over the last couple of months whilst playing for Brimscombe & Thrupp in the Hellenic League – for his first Southern League match of the season. Leigh Henry was absent due to a hamstring injury so once again Shayne Anson moved inside and Anthony Brown took the right fullback berth. The versatile Aidan Bennett moved to a more familiar striking role following his stint at left back. Ross Langworthy was also unavailable due to the ankle injury he sustained in Tuesday’s fixture at Biggleswade.

The Cirencester squad had a new face in it as Alex Dinsmore, a striker from Cheltenham Town’s Development Squad, took a seat on the bench.

The home side kicked-off on a sticky, uneven pitch defending the 'Tin Hat End' of the ground and within the first minute won a corner kick on their left flank.

A minute later the action was at the other end as Ollie Knight latched on to a pass in the right corner, turned back and sent a left footed cross towards the back post for 'keeper Craig Hill to catch at the second attempt.

Kettering were awarded a free kick near the left side edge of the Cirencester penalty area that Will Grocott pushed a yard to Ben Stephens for him to stop for Grocott to send into the box. Cirencester headed the kick out for James Mortimer-Jones to collect and pass to Anthony Brown on the right flank. Brown moved it down the line to Brad Hooper who took it to the corner and won a corner kick. The corner kick passed through the home 6 yard box with no contact for a goal-kick.

With 9 minutes on the clock Matt Liddiard collected the ball in the left channel and sent it to Aidan Bennett who drove down the right flank to the corner. Once there he laid the ball back to Brown who moved it to Knight as he darted across the front right edge of the home penalty area. Knight crossed the ball but again it passed through the 6 yard box without contact.

A minute later Kettering opened the scoring as a cross from the right channel, 35 yards out, found the head of BRETT SOLKHON, to the right of the penalty spot, as he darted across the Cirencester area. His glancing header entered the net just inside the left post.  1-0.

The Cirencester response was a driving run down the centre of the pitch from Bennett which was brought to an abrupt end and a free kick was awarded some 30 yards out that Charlie Griffin stepped up to take. Griffin placed his strike just inside the right post and a late full length dive from Hill enabled him to push it round his post for a corner kick.

Shortly after the 15 minute mark Kettering scored two goals in two minutes as a shot from Grocott, just outside the penalty area - right channel, struck the left post and as it rebounded RENE HOWE managed to bundle it over the line from 2 yards.  2-0.

Almost immediately this was followed by a swift break down the left flank from Spencer Weir-Daley who sent a looping cross from the side edge of the Cirencester penalty area towards the back post where BEN STEPHENS darted in to finish from right of the penalty spot.  3-0.

Having conceded three goals inside the first 20 minutes Cirencester could have capitulated and been on the end of a rout but they rallied and enjoyed a period of possession as they worked the ball from half way to the left flank then over to the right with several players involved – Griffin to Liddiard, out to Ben Proctor as he advanced down the left, forward to Knight, inside to James Mortimer-Jones, across to Bennett.

Encouraged by this they did it again as they worked it down the right flank - Bennett back to Liddiard, inside to Mortimer-Jones, out to Bennett, run down the wing – for a corner kick.

As the half hour mark approached Cirencester won a corner kick on their left flank that Bennett sent into the area between the front edge of the 6 yard box and the penalty spot and as the ball bounced around various attempts at contact were made but none succeeded and the threat eventually ended.

The pressure on the home defence had been mounting since the mid-point of the half and finally Cirencester got the breakthrough they had been searching for when Mortimer-Jones sent a deep cross from the left touchline to the far right post where CHARLIE GRIFFIN arrived to volley home from 4 yards.  3-1.

The home side were having to rely on occasional counter attacks as Cirencester pushed forward looking for another goal and with a minute of the half remaining CHARLIE GRIFFIN scored again. The ball was fed to him in space, left channel – 25 yards out, and without hesitating he struck a superb shot that hit the underside of the cross-bar, top right corner, that rebounded down and over the line. Ollie Knight followed up to ensure the ball stayed in the net and initially there was some confusion as the Assistant Referee was waving his flag  and it was thought it might be for offside as Knight darted in to finish but it was in fact to confirm that Griffin’s shot had crossed the line.

Half Time:    3-2

On the resumption Kettering put Cirencester under some pressure through Wilson Carvalho and Stephens on the left but when the cross entered the Cirencester penalty area it was comfortably cleared.

Within minutes Cirencester worked the ball down their left as Prictor moved the ball forward to Knight and followed his pass, overlapping to the corner. As Knight tried to pass the ball back to him it was blocked for a throw-in that Prictor sent to Liddiard, it was returned to Prictor and his cross was deflected into the arms of a grateful Hill.  

Cirencester were showing signs of getting back into their stride after the interval and it wasn’t long before Hooper fed Prictor,  back to Hooper, on to Knight, back to Prictor to cross but the defensive header was collected by Mortimer-Jones who sent it back out to Knight and Prictor on the left – foul and free kick in the left corner.

The visitors kept pressing and eventually Gary Mulligan launched the ball down the pitch to relieve the Kettering defence.

On the hour Zack Kotwica replaced Prictor to increase the forward threat and Bennett dropped to left fullback and it wasn’t long before the winger was in the action as Cirencester mounted an attack down their right flank. Griffin to Kotwica, on to the roving Knight, back to Kotwica, inside to Hooper who drove to the right side of the home penalty area and crossed but it was blocked for a corner kick.

Kettering defended the kick and countered down their left to win a corner kick of their own which was defended by Cirencester but soon came back as Carvalho received the ball on the left side of the penalty area and shot for Langley to save.

At the mid-point of the half Hooper received a throw-in from the right and fired at goal from 25 yards, right channel, but it was blocked and rebounded to Mortimer-Jones who went left then cut right to evade an incoming challenge and shot from just outside the penalty area and his effort fizzed past the outside of the right post.

A few minutes later another Cirencester attack in the left corner resulted in a throw-in that was cleared down-field to Spencer Weir-Daley who slipped it right to Howe but his shot was blocked for a corner kick that resulted in Cirencester mounting a break down their left with Hooper carrying the ball some distance before sending a pass that reached Kotwica as he darted down the right channel. The winger’s shot was wide of the left post.

Shortly afterwards the referee got in the way of a pass to the right from Mortimer-Jones and this enabled Chris Carruthers to collect the ball and charge forward resulting in a wrong-footed Shayne Anson bringing the Kettering player down. Anson was awarded a Yellow Card for the tackle. Elliot Sandy headed the resultant kick well wide of the target.

Carvalho had switched wings and when he drove down the right he slipped as he cut back inside, it looked like Bennett would be able to clear the danger but he too slipped as he turned enabling a recovered Carvalho to send a low left footed shot towards goal but Langley saved comfortably.

Cirencester then mounted another attack down their right flank with several players involved as they worked it forward but the cross was cut-out.

With 13 minutes remaining of normal time Alex Dinsmore was introduced in place of Aidan Bennett as Cirencester increased their forward options and shortly afterwards Mortimer-Jones fed Kotwica in space as he charged down the right channel. The winger entered the home penalty area and as he lined up his shot he was tackled by Carruthers – knocking him to the ground. The Referee, Guy Stretton, who was well placed to view the incident blew for a penalty kick. CHARLIE GRIFFIN placed the kick inside the right post as Hill dived to his right.  3-3.

As the game entered the last two minutes of normal time Kettering produced a break on their left and when the ball reached WILSON CARVALHO, near the left channel front edge of the Cirencester penalty area, he took a touch and fired a low left footed shot that entered the net inside the right post to give his team the lead.  4-3.

Despite this setback back came Cirencester as they moved the ball from left to right for Brown to cross into the penalty area where Liddiard had his shot blocked for a corner kick which was defended.

Another ball into the Kettering penalty area dropped to Mark Pritchett and his firm strike was stopped by the outstretched left hand of Hill and the home survived to take the points.

Final Score:  4-3

After the initial shock of conceding three goals inside 20 minutes Cirencester re-grouped and produced some good passing football on a difficult pitch to get back in the game – showing good spirit in the process.

It was extremely disappointing to lose a goal so late after working so hard to level the scores.

 

Attendance:     489

Referee:          Guy Stretton

Kettering Town:

 1.   Craig Hill
 2.   Perry Cotton
 3.   Chris Carruthers
 4.   Brett Solkhon     (C)                      10
 5.   Gary Mulligan
 6.   Herve Pepe-Ngoma
 7.   Wilson Carvalho                             88
 8.   Will Grocott
 9.   Rene Howe                                    17
10.  Spencer Weir-Daley
11.   Ben Stephens                               19

12.  Ben Baker
14.  James Brighton                  (Ben Stephens-63mins)
15.  Liam Canavan                      (Rene Howe-85mins)
16.  Dominic Langdon
17.  Elliot Sandy                       (Will Grocott-51mins)

 

Cirencester Town:

 1.   Josh Langley
 2.   Anthony Brown
 3.   Ben Prictor
 4.   Mark Pritchett
 5.   Matt Liddiard     (C)
 6.   Shayne Anson
 7.   Brad Hooper
 8.   James Mortimer-Jones
 9.   Charlie Griffin                              32, 44, 81p
10.  Aidan Bennett
11.  Ollie Knight

12.  Zack Kotwica                     (Ben Prictor-60mins)
14.  Alex Dinsmore                    (Aidan Bennett-77mins)
15.  Adam Connolly
16.  Jody Bevan

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