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Pre-Season Friendly

Newport City   3 – 4   Cirencester Town

Cirencester travelled to The Principality for their final Pre-Season Friendly in the lead up to the 2017-18 Season to face Newport City - who will be playing in Welsh League Division 3 next season – and came away with a 4-3 victory.

Like Cirencester their hosts suffered relegation last season and are also in the process of re-building.


The Cirencester squad contained four members of the Development Team with Sam Farr and Max Arnold playing in the back three all game, Sam Walsh up front throughout and Dan Roberts in midfield for the second half – they all contributed fully to the result.

As in previous matches Charlie Griffin set his team up in a 3-5-2 formation with Matt Wieczorek in goal, Ellis Dunton between Sam Farr (right) and Max Arnold (left) in defence. James Mortimer-Jones anchored the midfield with Louis Loader and Henry Spalding either side of him. The flanks were occupied by Kieren Diaz-Benitez (right) and Mason Lewis (left). Sam Walsh renewed his partnership with Aidan Bennett up front.


Newport City created the first shot at goal as early as the 3rd minute when Jake Buckley cut in from the right and fed Jordan Chubb, centre 22 yards out, but his effort was hurried and sailed over the bar.

A feature of the first period was long balls being shipped from the centre of the pitch by Henry Spalding to the flanks - often finding Kieren Diaz-Benitez - and Newport counter attacking once crosses had been blocked.

During the first fifteen minutes a Chubb cross found the head of Mark Dunford to the right of the 6 yard box but Matt Wieczorek was well placed to catch his effort, and shortly afterwards Max Arnold produced a terrific block to thwart Dunford’s first shot and James Mortimer-Jones his follow-up effort.

A couple of minutes later Cirencester began the build-up that led to the opening goal as Ellis Dunton sent a 40 yard pass from the centre of defence to Mason Lewis on the left touchline. Lewis spotted Spalding darting to the corner and released the ball to him – resulting in a Cirencester throw-in. Following the throw the ball reached Spalding who immediately clipped it towards the far post where home ‘keeper, Jack Cropper, under pressure from Sam Walsh failed to hold it. The alert KIEREN DIAZ-BENITEZ latched onto the loose ball and smashed it into the back of the net from the edge of the 6 yard box.  0-1.

Four minutes later Cirencester doubled their score when AIDAN BENNETT latched onto a through ball down the right channel to the front edge of the home penalty area and as the ‘keeper advanced he calmly finished inside the right post.  0-2.

The home side reduced the deficit soon afterwards when they were awarded a penalty kick.

A cross from the left flank was pulled out of the air by Dunford a couple of yards inside the centre front edge of the Cirencester penalty area and in the process Dunton fell to the ground facing his own goal. Dunford collected the ball and instantly fired at the goal with the ball striking the prone Dunton on his supporting arms as he tried to get up. An immediate appeal followed and the penalty kick was awarded.  PATRICK POPE stepped up and drove the kick inside the right post as Wieczorek dived in the opposite direction.  1-2.

Five minutes later Cirencester regained their two-goal cushion as a loose ball was collected by Bennett who moved left before slipping it to SAM WALSH, to the left of the penalty spot.

Walsh’s first effort was partially blocked with the ball rebounding in favour of the striker who was able to send it into the empty net from a few yards.  1-3

With six minutes of normal time remaining Cirencester added another as Lewis slipped the ball to Louis Loader as he dashed to the left channel of the home penalty area. Loader slid the ball towards the far post where HENRY SPALDING arrived to finish from a couple of yards.  1-4.

As the half drew to a close Cirencester worked the ball down the right flank and back to halfway where Sam Farr collected, moved forward, and clipped a 30 yard pass to Lewis on the left front corner of the Newport area. Lewis cut left and struck a right footed shot that Cropper managed to block with his legs.

Half Time:  1-4

During the interval Charlie Griffin made a few changes to personnel and positions as he replaced Ellis Dunton and Henry Spalding with Dan Roberts and Jack Horrell. Both Roberts and Horrell took midfield positions whilst Sam Farr moved into the centre of the back-three with Max Arnold switching to the right and Aidan Bennett dropping to the left side of defence. Louis Loader took a more forward position.

Within ten minutes of the re-start the home side pulled a goal back as NICK SIMCOCK collected a Chubb pass down the right channel on the burst and  ‘chipped’ the ball over an advanced Matt Wieczorek from 30 yards.  2-4.

Shortly afterwards James Mortimer-Jones played the ball to Loader on the left touchline and he in turn slipped it to Lewis as he burst into the left channel of the area and around the new ‘keeper, Draper. Lewis slid his shot towards goal but it was blocked near the line by a covering defender – rebounding into the arms of the prone ‘keeper.

Just after the hour mark an unusual decision took place as the Referee awarded a free kick against Cirencester 15 yards inside the home half and the reaction from the Cirencester players resulted in the kick being moved to a few yard outside the Cirencester penalty area. The resulting kick was sent to the far post where Farr calmly headed it back to Wieczorek.

A regular feature for the next 15 minutes was the sight of Lewis charging down the left flank into the area and being thwarted by the ‘keeper whilst Max Arnold was making numerous over-lapping runs down the right in support of Diaz-Benitez. These over-laps even included the rare sight of Mortimer-Jones collecting a Diaz-Benitez flick as he charged to the corner.

As the game entered the final fifteen minutes Newport reduced the arrears again following a throw-in near the left corner that Dean Palmer back-heeled into the path of Ben Fetahi and he sent a deep cross to the far post where AARON CAREW headed inside the right post from the edge of the 6 yard box.  3-4.

Just before the goal Cirencester were probing the edge of the home area until the ball was laid back to Jack Horrell, who had been spraying the ball around the park in similar fashion to Henry Spalding, and he struck a fierce right footed shot from 25 yards towards the top right corner that required a superb diving save from the ‘keeper to keep it out.

During the final stages the home ‘keeper was put under a lot of pressure but the Newport goal survived intact.

Full Time:   3-4

A good work-out for both teams on an excellent Stadium pitch.

The game was competitive but played in a good spirit.

Despite being short of seven members of his First Team squad Charlie Griffin was able to view a number of other players in his preferred system including the Development lads who undoubtedly enjoyed the experience.


Newport City:

Jack Cropper, Andy Coleman, Robbie James, Sam Grave (C), Nathan Thompson, Patrick Pope, Andrew Yarr, Jake Buckley, Jordan Chubb, Mark Dunford, Martin Micielwicz, Alex Williams, Nick Simcock, Dean Palmer, Aaron Carew, Ben Fetahi, Jordan Francombe, Lee Bridgeman, Draper.


Cirencester Town:

Matt Wieczorek, Sam Farr, Ellis Dunton (Dan Roberts-45mins), Max Arnold, James Mortimer-Jones, Henry Spalding (Jack Horrell-45mins), Kieren Diaz-Benitez, Louis Loader, Mason Lewis, Aidan Bennett, Sam Walsh.

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