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Pre-Season Friendly

Fairford Town   2 – 8   Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  


Cirencester made the short journey to Cinder Lane to face Fairford Town - who will play in the Hellenic League Premier Division in the upcoming season – in a Pre-Season Friendly match.  The home side are now under the stewardship of former Centurion Jody Bevan and Chris Smith.

On a perfect evening for football the visitors put on a display of fluid football and clinical finishing against a valiant home side - scoring four in each half.

The Cirencester starting eleven included Matt Coupe who returned at centre back with Jordan Stoddart and Aidan Bennett either side of him. Former Cirencester Academy ‘keeper Arie Peursum continued in goal behind them as Matt Wieczorek is resting a slight muscle strain. The midfield consisted of Adam Connolly, Jack Horrell and Louis Loader in the centre with Jack Watts and Felipe Barcelos on the flanks. Alan Griffin and Ben Whitehead were the strike force.

Cirencester kicked off and immediately took the game to Fairford as they pressed down the left flank but it was from the right flank that they opened the scoring after five minutes. There was an element of fortune about the goal as Louis Loader slid the ball into space behind the home defence to produce a race between ‘keeper Ben Mitchell and JACK WATTS to the right front corner edge of the penalty area. The two players met but the ball rebounded in favour of Watts and he gratefully collected it and drove it into the unguarded net.  0-1

Fairford responded with a 30 yard pass from Jason Milhench (right of the centre circle) to Lee Smith (left touchline) who slipped it inside to Dan Reynolds and went for the return in the corner but Jordan Stoddart had spotted the danger and shepherded it out of play for a goal-kick. 

Back came Fairford as Sean McKeon and Milhench fired shots at the Cirencester goal – Arie Peursum saved the first – low at his right post, whilst the other flew over the cross-bar.

With fifteen minutes on the clock Ben Whitehead exchanged passes with Adam Connolly before having his shot blocked – it rebounded to Alan Griffin who laid it back to Jack Horrell and his shot was deflected for a corner kick that led to the second goal. Felipe Barcelos sent the kick from the right corner into the mix where Griffin challenged and the ball dropped to the front edge of the 6 yard box where BEN WHITEHEAD turned sharply to fire into the net.  0-2.

A couple of minutes later Aidan Bennett played the ball down the left flank to Barcelos and he ‘chipped’ it behind the home defence for Whitehead to chase but he was forced wide by Mitchell so he laid it back to Griffin who sent it square across the front edge of the box for Horrell to shoot – blocked and a counter attack mounted.

The ball reached Smith who sent a low shot at the target that was again saved by Peursum but a minute later LEE SMITH was not to be denied as he collected a ball in the left channel, 25 yards out, and curled it inside the far right post.  1-2.

The game became fairly even for a while but it was Cirencester who increased their lead as Whitehead won the ball, right channel – 20 yards out, and slipped it forward for Watts to collect and square to the near post where LOUIS LOADER was arriving at pace to finish inside the right post.  1-3.

Six minutes later Loader won the ball in the centre circle and fed Watts (right touch-line) who crossed to the penalty spot for BEN WHITEHEAD to finish inside the right post.  1-4.

As the half entered the last ten minutes Fairford broke down the right flank as Nick Jones played the ball to Kieran Jennings and on to Smith, right channel front edge of the Cirencester penalty area, who cut left and sent his shot wide of the far post.

Within minutes Matt Coupe won the ball in the centre circle and fed Barcelos on the left touch-line who played it to the left channel for the willing Whitehead to collect. He in turn returned it to Barcelos as he darted to the left side edge of the home penalty area. Barcelos cut right and fired at the goal but Mitchell blocked and the danger was cleared.

Half Time:  1-4

During the interval Louis Loader was replaced by defender Mason Lewis and as a result Aidan Bennett moved forward to the left flank and Felipe Barcelos inside to an advanced central supporting role. Additional changes were made during the half to enable the other substitutes to get some action.

Three minutes after the re-start BEN WHITEHEAD scored his hat-trick goal with a superb left footed volley from near the penalty spot following a flowing move involving a Watts pass down the right flank for Barcelos to carry to the corner before crossing.  1-5.

Fairford reacted positively as Smith sent the ball out to Aaron Dainton (left touch-line) who played it inside to Josh Morse and he darted down the side edge of the area before crossing but it was cut out and cleared by Horrell.

Back came Fairford as they launched the ball forward but the visitors defence had advanced and Stoddart was able to head clear for Griffin to collect and slip right to Watts and he in turn sent the ball into space behind the home defence - towards the centre front edge of the penalty area. Former Cirencester custodian, Josh Langley, had take over in goal during the interval and he dashed forward in a foot race with the enthusiastic BEN WHITEHEAD and in meeting the challenge it looked like the forward’s touch was a bit heavy as the ball sped towards the by-line but Whitehead had not given up the chase and managed to reach the ball before it went out of play and fire into the net from a few yards, albeit a narrow angle, as the defenders desperately tried to cover.  1-6.   

The home side were to score next as they won a corner kick on their left flank that was headed clear to be collected by Morse who shot – blocked, collected by LIAM GALE (who had only joined the action a minute earlier) and he was forced across the face of the goal before scoring from 3 yards.  2-6

At the mid-point of the half Whitehead chased a long ball down the centre and once again was met by Langley with the result that Cirencester were awarded a free kick 5 yards outside the penalty area in a central position. FELIPE BARCELOS stepped up and placed his kick into the top left corner.  2-7.

The home sides response to this required Cirencester to block three efforts in quick succession followed by a terrific 40 yard pass from Sam Ockwell (left channel – halfway) to Adam Bright (right touchline) but the resulting cross was caught by Peursum. 

A minute later another flowing move from Cirencester down their right flank enabled Kieren Diaz-Benitez to cross from the corner producing a corner kick that resulted in another from the same side. When this kick came in Coupe darted towards it but stepped over it to create space for James Mortimer-Jones who shot wide of the left post from the centre front edge of the area.

With seven minutes to play BEN WHITEHEAD scored his fifth goal of the night as he darted forward to head home a corner kick from the left.  2-8.

Cirencester had a couple of chances in the final minutes as Langley saved a 25 yard effort from Horrell and Griffin was wide of the left post.

Full Time:   2-8

Another entertaining game in perfect conditions with plenty of flowing football from Cirencester as they begin to settle into the style of play Manager Charlie Griffin is seeking.

Fitness levels are improving all the time as is the understanding between the players.

Ben Whitehead was certainly very lively all evening and provided the ‘cutting-edge’ the approach play deserved.


Jody Bevan will undoubtedly be disappointed with the score-line but will have been encouraged by his team’s effort as they continued to press forward at every opportunity.  


Fairford Town:

Ben Mitchell, Nick Jones, Chris Jackson, Sam Ockwell, Aaron Dainton, Dan Reynolds, Kieren Jennings, Nick Stanley, Lee Smith, Sean McKeon, Jason Milhench, Josh Langley, Martin Hall, Adam Bright, Josh Morse, Liam Gale, Jacob Ashley.


Cirencester Town:

Arie Peursum, Jordan Stoddart, Matt Coupe, Aidan Bennett, Adam Connolly, Jack Horrell, Louis Loader, Jack Watts, Felipe Barcelos, Alan Griffin, Ben Whitehead, Mason Lewis, James Mortimer-Jones, Ryan Elliott, Kieren Diaz-Benitez.

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