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Friendly - Training Match

Cirencester Town XI   2 - 4   Forest Green Rovers XI

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


Without a game last weekend Cirencester took the opportunity offered to them by Forest Green Rovers to play a friendly match instead of training.

The Cirencester squad included a couple of triallists - goalkeeper Raajan Gill and midfielder Henry Spalding. Kalum Youngsam started up front alongside Ross Langworthy and Max Lloyd in a five-man midfield with Matt Liddiard moving to the left of a back three.


As expected Rovers dominated much of the play with their trademark passing from the back policy but Cirencester created an opening three minutes into the game as Kieren Diaz-Benitez collected a clearance and quickly moved it towards Ollie Knight who let it run to Ross Langworthy on the left side of the Rovers penalty area and he crossed to the far right post where Kalum Youngsam made a late run to drive it into the side netting from a narrow angle.   

After eight minutes Arron Birch made a run down the right flank and crossed into the box for triallist custodian Raajan Gill to catch the ball comfortably and ease himself into the match.

A minute later Adam Connolly released Knight on a charge down the left flank and when he reached the left side edge of the Rovers penalty area he pulled the ball back to the centre front edge of the area where Langworthy fired a left footed shot at the target but it was blocked.

Ollie Knight, a product of the Forest Green Academy, was having a busy period and he was soon back again - this time winning a corner kick in the left corner. Ross Langworthy sent the kick towards the penalty spot where Matt Liddiard’s firm header was blocked. The referee, Mike Halford, ignored shouts from the home players for handball and Forest Green cleared the danger.  

At this stage of the game Forest Green were working the ball in their customary fashion from goalkeeper to their back line and forward, with Marcus Kelly heavily involved as he collected and linked play, but Cirencester were working hard to close them down and deny them space and once the ball was won break quickly.

Matt Liddiard won the ball on the Cirencester left flank and exchanged passes with Knight before slipping it forward to Henry Spalding who attempted to place his pass behind the visitors back line but it was cut out before Langworthy could reach it.  

With 13 minutes on the clock Birch crossed from the right flank to the back post where Mo Chemlal darted in to head towards goal but his effort was caught by a well positioned Gill.

Back came Cirencester as Kieren Diaz-Benitez slid a precision pass with his left foot into the path of Kalum Youngsam as he burst down the right flak to the corner – winning a corner kick. Ollie knight took the kick and it was defended for another one. This time he played it short to Langworthy but a misunderstanding between the two resulted in the ball being lost.

At the mid-point of the half Cirencester worked the ball down their left flank with Liddiard, Connolly, Spalding and Knight involved and when Knight fed Langworthy on the front edge of the Rovers penalty area, right of centre, he produced a fierce right footed drive that Simon Lefebvre could only parry. KALUM YOUNGSAM was quickest to react to the loose ball and promptly drove it into the net from 8 yards.  1-0.

Encouraged by this success Cirencester pressed again down their left flank with Knight sending a couple of dangerous crosses into the box and Langworthy having a shot blocked after some neat approach play.

As the half hour mark approached Chemlal produced a mazy run across the front edge of the home penalty area, right to left, that took him into the box but his left footed shot was stopped by Gill near his right post and picked up before any Rovers player could get to it.  

On the half hour Ben Brown played the ball back to his ‘keeper but wide of the mark causing Gill to dash across his box to clear. In the process of clearing the ball he made contact with Matt Tubbs and after some furious flag-waving by the Assistant Referee a penalty kick was eventually awarded. Matt Tubbs placed the ball on the spot, turned and walked back towards the front edge of the area. Once there he quickly turned and ran at the ball producing a fierce drive that looked destined for the inside of the left post until Gill dived across to push it wide. A tremendous save from the debutant.  

A few minutes later a deep diagonal ball from Wade Elliott, right channel – half way, was collected by MATT TUBBS, just outside the line of the left post, and this time he was not to be denied as he fired a powerful drive into the top right corner.  1-1.

Just before the interval Cirencester were awarded a free kick on their right flank, in line with the front edge of the penalty area, that Ollie Knight sent towards the near post with his left foot. Max Lloyd, in line with the right post, leapt to ‘head-on’ towards the area between the penalty spot and the 6 yard box where BEN BROWN darted in to head home - restoring the home side’s lead.  2-1.

Half Time:   2-1

Almost immediately after the re-start Cirencester won a corner kick when Diaz-Benitez latched onto a loose ball near the front edge of the visitor’s penalty area but it was comfortably defended.

The Rovers response was a driving run down the left side edge of the home penalty area followed by a dangerous low cross that Gill managed to claim on the centre front edge of his 6 yard box.  

Cirencester then worked the ball down their left flank and into the Forest Green penalty area where Wade Elliott intercepted a pass near the left post (Cirencester viewpoint) and showed all his experience as he calmly retained possession under pressure, weaving left and right, as he worked the ball out of his penalty area.

A couple of minutes later Elliott showed his dribbling skills again at the other end of the pitch as he took the ball past several challenges and into the left channel  of the home penalty area before laying it across the front edge of the 6 yard box. Raajan Gill managed to get a hand to the pass but it reached Ollie Mehew a couple of yards out and under pressure he fired over the bar.  

Foreest Green had upped the tempo and 15 minutes into the half they levelled the score after they had worked the ball down their left flank before laying it back to FABIAN ROBERT who sent a right footed curling shot into the top right corner from the centre front edge of the home penalty area.  2-2.

Despite the setback Cirencester managed to create an opening for Langworthy who cut in from the right to shoot – his first effort with his right foot was blocked but it rebounded back to him for another go with his left but this too was blocked.

Midway into the half the visitors took the lead when Mehew latched onto a miss-directed pass just outside the home penalty area, right flank (FGR viewpoint), and set up MATT TUBBS for a tap-in from 3 yards.  2-3.  

Undeterred Cirencester worked the ball down their right flank with James Mortimer-Jones involved several times as they searched for an opening.

As the game entered the final quarter Forest Green were controlling proceedings and Cirencester defending with conviction and when Chemlal headed the ball on to Tubbs who broke down the left side edge of the home area it required a quick thinking Liddiard to come across to the near post to cut out the resulting cross to concede a corner kick.  

With eleven minutes of normal time remaining MATT TUBBS completed his hat-trick when he tucked a low cross inside the left post from near the penalty spot.  2-4.

A couple of minutes later Aidan Bennett received the ball just outside the centre front edge of the Rovers area and worked an opening to shoot.  Simon Lefebvre had to maintain his concentration to tip his effort over the crossbar.

As the game was drawing to a close Cirencester took a leaf out of the Forest Green hand book as they calmly played their way out of defence and down the pitch with Robbie James, Brown, Mortimer-Jones and Liddiard involved.

On the stroke of full time Cirencester pressed the visitors and won the ball – feeding it to Bennett. As he entered the visitor’s area he was impeded resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Matt Liddiard stepped up to take the kick but placed his effort wide of the right post.

Full Time:  2-4

This was a very entertaining match – played in a good spirit, with plenty of quick passing football from both sides.

The youngsters in the Cirencester side will have gained a lot from the experience – certainly better than training in terms of understanding team-mates, style of play, match fitness and sharpness.  



Referee:          Mike Halford


Cirencester Town:

1.    Raajan Gill
2.    Kieran Diaz-Benitez
3.    Matt Liddiard     (C)
4.    Henry Spalding                             
5.    Robbie James                               
6.    Ben Brown                                          44                      
7.    Kalum Youngsam                                 22                
8.    Adam Connolly                              
9.    Ross Langworthy                                                               
10.   Max Lloyd
11.   Ollie Knight

12.   James Mortimer-Jones                 (Max Lloyd-46mins)                
14.   Aidan Bennett                             (Ross Langworthy-69mins)                   
16.   Sam Hunt                         
17.   Harvey Rivers (GK)                        


Forest Green Rovers:

1.    Simon Lefebvre
2.    Jon Moran
3.    Wade Elliott
4.    Will Davidson
5.    Marcus Kelly
6.    Olly Mehew
7.    Mo Chemlal
8.    Fabian Robert                                      60
9.    Rhys Murphy
10.   Matt Tubbs                                        34,67,79
11.   Arron Birch

12.   Tommy Anderson
14.   Jordan Morris
15.   Alex Hallet                                  
16.   Tyler Edmonds (GK)
17.   Nathan Trueman

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