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Pre-Season Friendly

Longlevens   1 – 3   Cirencester Town

Cirencester travelled to Gloucester for their second pre-season friendly of the 2017-18 Season to face Longlevens who finished in 12th place in the Hellenic League Premier Division last season. 

Four days ago the match was played in blisteringly hot conditions but this match was played in steady rain on a firm, wet, greasy pitch that encouraged quick accurate passing - if the target was missed the ball was gone – and as a result a competitive game ensued with Longlevens enjoying the better of the early exchanges.

 

As in the previous match Cirencester started in a 3-5-2 formation with Matt Coupe returning to play between Jordan Stoddart and Ellis Dunton. James Mortimer-Jones anchored the midfield with Jack Watts and Aidan Bennett on the flanks and Henry Spalding and newcomer Louis Loader in front of him. Alan Griffin and Ben Whitehead provided the outlet up top.

During the first fifteen minutes Cirencester ‘keeper Matt Wieczorek was in action as he collected a couple of straightforward attempts on his goal and a couple of shots flew over his cross-bar but shortly afterwards Cirencester mounted a couple of attacks of their own and opened the scoring when Henry Spalding intercepted a cross-field free kick, ten yards inside the Cirencester half – left channel, and immediately switched the ball to the Cirencester right flank with a superb 35 yard pass to Jack Watts who sped down the touchline before crossing to the far post where LOUIS LOADER arrived to place a right-footed volley inside the left post. 0-1.

Three minutes later as Longlevens pressed the ball was lost and quickly fed to Alan Griffin who was challenged by the home ‘keeper, Ash Wintle, 15 yards inside his own half. Griffin evaded the tackle and immediately sent his shot towards the empty goal with everyone in the ground awaiting the outcome. Eventually the ball passed narrowly wide of the right post.

Just before the mid-point of the half Longlevens were awarded a free kick, 35 yards out – left channel, that Shaun O'Connor struck firmly towards the top right corner of the goal. Matt Wieczorek quickly moved across to tip it over the cross-bar.

The action was soon at the other end of the pitch as Cirencester probed down both flank and Wintle made a brave save at the feet of Griffin. Three minutes later a good move down the left enabled Aidan Bennett to release Ben Whitehead who collected the pass left of the 6 yard box and sent his shot just past the far right post. Minutes later Whitehead and Bennett combined again with the latter’s low shot being saved by the ‘keeper.   

As the half was drawing to a close Craig Beaton crossed from the left flank to the right front edge of the Cirencester penalty area where Brad Martin attempted a left footed volley on the turn that cleared the cross-bar.

With a minute of the half remaining Longlevens made a swift break down their left channel as Martin headed the ball on, near half way, for SHAUN O'CONNOR to collect and carry forward for a 1v1 with Wieczorek that he confidently tucked inside the left post.  1-1.

Half Time:  1-1

As in the previous game Cirencester changed to a 4-4-2 formation for the second half as Ryan Elliott and Mason Lewis came on at full backs, Adam Connolly in midfield, Connor Teague on the right flank and Felipe Barcelos up front. To accommodate this Jordan Stoddart, Henry Spalding, James Mortimer-Jones, Jack Watts and Ben Whitehead took a break.

Cirencester started the half very positively and a flowing move down the right flank - started by Ryan Elliott, continued by Connor Teague as he slipped the ball inside to Loader, on to Griffin, back to Loader as he broke down the right side edge of the home penalty area - resulted in a free kick. Felipe Barcelos sent the kick to Matt Coupe who saw his effort blocked for a corner kick that was defended.

Not to be outdone Longlevens responded with a low shot from their O'Connor that Wieczorek had to watch carefully whilst making the save.

Shortly afterwards Teague won the ball in the centre circle and released Barcelos for a charging run down the right channel - once he reached the front edge of the penalty area he fired wide of the left post under challenge.

On the hour Cirencester produced a flowing move down their left flank as Mason Lewis fed Bennett, back to Ellis Dunton, inside to Loader, forward to Bennett – shot blocked for a corner kick. When Barcelos sent the kick into the box Griffin got his head to it but it bounced over the bar. This was to prove the last action for Griffin as he was replaced by Spalding and Bennett moved alongside Barcelos to try a different strike combination.

At the mid-point of the half Dunton sent the ball from defence into the left corner for Barcelos to chase. The home ‘keeper saw the run and ran across and upended the forward leading to a free kick that was laid back to Spalding who curled his cross to the front edge of the 6 yard box where it was partially cleared to ELLIS DUNTON, near the penalty spot, who volleyed it into the net with a slight deflection from a defender near the line as he attempted to clear.  1-2.

During the next ten minutes Cirencester attacked at pace with Bennett, Teague and Barcelos shooting wide of the target.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Longlevens created a couple of openings when Luke Kavanagh released O'Connor who fed Max Harper-Emerson but his cross from the right was cut-out. This was quickly followed by a break down their right flank and a corner kick that Cirencester defended.

With five minutes remaining Harper-Emerson headed wide of the right post after a quick counter attack but it was Cirencester who completed the scoring a couple of minutes later when Teague slipped the ball to Barcelos who crossed from the right by-line for AIDAN BENNETT to finish inside the left post from the edge of the box.  1-3.

Full Time:   1-3

This was a well contested, entertaining match with both teams having their moments in difficult playing conditions due to the incessant rain.

Another chance for the players to improve their fitness in a competitive situation and for the new players to show what they offer to the Management Team.

 

 

Longlevens:

Ash Wintle, Luke Kavanagh, Craig Beaton, Dave Merrick, Ed Smyllie, Jonty Welch, Craig Martin, Max harper-Emerson, Shaun O’Connor, Brad Martin, Joe Wilton, Ollie Long, Adam Phillips, Ryan Dunn, Bradley Vanstone, Dave Rich.

 

Cirencester Town:

Matt Wieczorek, Jordan Stoddart, Matt Coupe, Ellis Dunton, James Mortimer-Jones, Jack Watts, Louis Loader, Henry Spalding, Aidan Bennett, Alan Griffin, Ben Whitehead, Ryan Elliott, Mason Lewis, Adam Connolly, Connor Teague, Felipe Barcelos,

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