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Evo Stik Southern League 2017/18

West Division

 

Cirencester Town   1 – 2   Didcot Town

 

Click  photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

 

Didcot Town were the latest visitors to The Corinium Stadium for the second league match to be played on the new 3G surface.

‘The Railwaymen’ have made a similar start to Cirencester in the league with 3 points from the two games played (albeit they have a +1 goal difference to the home sides zero) placing them in 9th place in the table to Cirencester’s 12th.

The Cirencester squad was a little depleted due to a number of players taking holiday over the Bank Holiday and as a result Charlie Griffin had added former Swindon Town U18 player Will Christopher to the squad in mid-week and he and Matt Jones made their home debuts in this match - either side of Jordan Stoddart and Ellis Dunton (returning after missing the FA Cup tie at Aylesbury due to the facial injury received at Slimbridge) - in front of Matt Wieczorek.

The centre of midfield was occupied by Adam Connolly and Henry Spalding with Jack Watts and Mason Lewis on the flanks. Ben Whitehead and Alan Griffin formed the strike force in a 4-4-2 formation. 

 

Didcot kicked off proceedings on a warm, dry day and almost immediately lost the ball enabling Cirencester to attack down their right flank with Will Christopher getting an early touch as he supported Jack Watts – crossing the ball to the near post where Alan Griffin produced a diving header that ‘keeper Leigh Bedwell gathered comfortably.

Ten minutes into the game Ellis Dunton intercepted a pass and drove forward before slipping it to Watts who sent it to the left flank where Matt Jones was charging forward and without hesitation the full back fired a powerful left footed shot that fizzed wide of the left post from 25 yards.

Shortly afterwards Henry Spalding slid a precise ball down the left channel for Ben Whitehead to collect as he burst into the Didcot penalty area. The striker’s left footed shot was blocked – resulting in a corner kick that was defended. 

The home side had started the game positively and after 18 minutes they opened the scoring when Jones played the ball to Jack Watts, left channel front edge of the visitors penalty area, and he produced a cushioned ‘back-header’ that dropped into the path of ALAN GRIFFIN, near the centre front edge, who calmly placed his right footed volley inside the right post.  1-0.

Shortly afterwards an exchange of passes between Mason Lewis and Watts released Lewis into the right channel of the Didcot penalty area but his right footed effort, as he continued to move right, passed narrowly wide of the far left post.

Ten minutes later ‘The Railwaymen’ equalised after a couple of attempted headed clearances of a Didcot free kick landed at the feet of LOUIS JOYCE, left of the penalty spot, and he volleyed the ball inside the left post.  1-1.

As the half entered the final ten minutes Adam Connolly slipped the ball left from the centre circle to an advancing Jones who carried it forward and unleashed a fierce pile-driver of a shot from 35 yards that Leigh Bedwell did well to block.

Not to be outdone Callum McNish and Joyce produced a couple of long range efforts of their own that were wide of the left post and the teams went to the interval all-square.

Half Time:  1-1

During the break Kieren Diaz-Benitez replaced Mason Lewis, who had sustained a foot injury, in the wide left midfield role and almost immediately he was involved in the action as the home side pressed from the left flank with both Diaz-Benitez and Whitehead having shots blocked.

As the hour mark approached George Jeacock slipped the ball left to Lewis Hayden who crossed into the Cirencester area where Dunton under pressure headed clear from the centre front edge of the 6 yard box.

Cirencester countered with a Diaz-Benitez header that Bedwell parried but there were signs that Didcot were finding more space as Joyce released McNish to the right front edge of the home area but as Matt Wieczorek advanced he struck his shot wide of the right post. Shortly afterwards Wieczorek was called into action as substitute George Reid burst down the right of the area and fired a powerful shot towards the top corner that the ‘keeper pushed over to concede a corner kick.

Just after the mid-point of the half Whitehead, lurking after receiving treatment, intercepted a cross-field pass on the front edge of the Didcot area and moved forward but Bedwell had spotted the danger and quickly closed him down to deflect the strikers shot wide.

Into the final quarter hour of the match and Spalding carried the ball forward down the right channel before slipping it left to Jones on the charge down the centre and when he was 25 yards out the defender struck a fierce right footed shot that looked destined for the back of the net until Bedwell produced a sensational save to push it round his right post.

Cirencester had changed to a back three in an effort to match Didcot in midfield and provide more forward momentum but it also provided space for Didcot to exploit on the flanks and as the 90 minute mark approached the home goal was under siege with Griffin and Jordan Stoddart prominent.

The pressure finally told when SETH HUMPHRIES collected a loose ball on the left side of the penalty area, cut back right and curled his effort inside the far right post to secure victory for his side.  1-2. 

Full Time:  1-2 

Disappointing for the Centurions to lose in the final moments of the match but Charlie Griffin can take some comfort in the fact that he had a number of players unavailable and yet his side showed some glimpses of their potential. 

 

Attendance:     182

Referee:          Harry Moore

 

Cirencester Town:

 1.   Matt Wieczorek
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Matt Jones                                               
 4.   Jordan Stoddart
 5.   Ellis Dunton
 6.   Henry Spalding     
 7.   Mason Lewis
 8.   Adam Connolly
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)                                     18
10.   Ben Whitehead                                        
11.   Jack Watts          

12.   James Mortimer-Jones
14.   Kieren Diaz-Benitez                       (Mason Lewis-46mins)  
15.   Max Arnold                      
16.   Sam Walsh                                    (Jack Watts-90mins)              
17.   Sam Farr

 

Didcot Town:

 1.  Leigh Bedwell
 2.  George Jeacock
 3.  Cameron McNeil
 4.  Sam Elkins
 5.  Stuart Cattell
 6.  Adam Learoyd     (C)
 7.  Lewis Hayden
 8.  Callum McNish
 9.  Louis Joyce                                                            28
10.  Sam Barder
11.  Matt Woodley

12.  Seth Humphries                             (Louis Joyce-75mins)  89                               
14.  George Reid                                   (Lewis Hayden-64mins)
 15.  Ethan Lamptey                               (Matt Woodley-72mins)
16.  Sam Parish
17.  Andy Ballard          

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