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Evo Stik Southern League 2017/18

West Division


Cirencester Town   1 – 0   Winchester City


Click  photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

Match Report by Dave Pyzer  

‘The Citizens’ of Winchester City were the visitors to The Corinium Stadium for the latest Southern League – West Division match on the newly installed 3G pitch and just before the kick off the weather changed from sunshine to dark clouds and thunderstorm conditions that required the floodlights to be turned on within the first few minutes – changing back to sunshine as the match was drawing to a close. 

Winchester have made a solid start to the new season – winning three of their four games – to sit in fourth position in the table with 9 points whilst Cirencester have won one of their four fixtures and lie in 19th position. 

The Cirencester starting eleven had one change to the side that lost at Swindon Supermarine over the Bank Holiday as Matt Coupe returned in the centre of the defence (following his family holiday) alongside Jordan Stoddart. To accommodate this Ellis Dunton moved to left back and Matt Jones to a wide left midfield role in place of the absent Felipe Barcelos.

The home side kicked-off in dark, damp conditions that deteriorated as the half progressed and immediately worked the right flank until the ball skidded out of play as it was moved forward on the now slippery surface.

The visitors responded with an attack down their left flank that produced the first corner kick of the match after two minutes.

Almost immediately the ball was at the other end of the pitch as Henry Spalding slid the ball forward down the right flank for Ben Whitehead to chase. The striker reached the ball near the by-line and back-heeled it to Spalding who crossed to the far post for Alan Griffin to head back across goal for Whitehead to finish. The celebration was short-lived as the Assistant Referee had his flag raised for ‘offside’ earlier in the move. 

The game had started at a frantic ‘end-to-end’ pace with Winchester winning a corner kick leading to an Adam Tomasso shot over the bar followed by Cirencester having a series of corner kicks that led to a Matt Jones shot being blocked.

As the mid-point of the half approached Winchester mounted a break down their left flank through Simba Mlambo and his low cross struck a covering Ellis Dunton and passed narrowly wide of the near post.

The action was soon at the Winchester end as a neat move down the home sides left flank produced a cross that looked destined for Griffin’s head, in the centre of the 6 yard box, but Josh Harefield managed to get his head to the ball first and deflect it over Griffin to safety.

Five minutes later Cirencester came close to opening their account as Mike Pook played a quick free kick on half way to Dunton who sent it to the left corner for Jones to cross – blocked for a left wing corner kick that reached Griffin but was headed against the Winchester cross-bar.

Cirencester continued to press and a Winchester clearance was collected by Jones who struck a fierce shot past the far right post.

As the half entered the last ten minutes Winchester mounted a couple of breaks with Mlambo heavily involved as he released Pat Cox to fire over the target and slipped Rob Carr through (who brought a fine save from Matt Wieczorek) before  shooting himself. His effort was parried into the path of Andy Jenkinson but the follow-up shot was comfortably collected by Wieczorek.

In amongst these efforts Whitehead created room for himself, with a sharp turn on the left side edge of the visitor’s area, to fire a powerful right footed shot into the arms of ‘keeper Ryan Pryce.

During the closing few minutes of the half Cirencester pressed down both flanks but could not find a way through and the teams went to the break all square.

Half Time:  0-0

Almost immediately from the re-start Winchester mounted an attack down their right flank that resulted in Carr crossing from the right to Mlambo at the far post but the winger headed well over the target.

In response Griffin played the ball into the path of Jones who fired just over the bar as he charged forward and this was soon followed by a neat move involving Spalding, Whitehead, Spalding again (on the right), left to Jones, slipped forward to Whitehead as he burst to the left front corner of the Winchester penalty area before shooting just over the top left corner.

As the hour mark approached Rob Flooks headed a free kick over the home bar and Carr was released into space in the right channel but as he charged into the area he fired wide of the right post.

Shortly afterwards a Cirencester free kick landed near the Winchester 6 yard box but they couldn’t find the final touch and when Jones had a couple of shots blocked and Aidan Bennett fired over the bar it was beginning to look like they would never score.

Winchester then created an opening as they pressed down their right flank with the ball being played to Jamie Barrow who turned sharply and fired a low shot towards the bottom right post. Wieczorek covered his post and pushed it wide to concede a corner kick that brought a reflex save from the ‘keeper as he pushed Pat Cox’s header over his cross-bar.

Back came Cirencester as Griffin collected the ball near the right channel front edge of the Winchester area before laying it back to Bennett who slid it across to an advancing Dunton as he galloped down the left channel and into the area. His resulting ‘clip’ to the far post was deflected out of the path of the incoming Griffin and Whitehead and Winchester had survived again – but not for long.

Four minutes later Cirencester finally scored the goal that had been eluding them. When Pryce cleared the ball it was collected by Jones, left channel – 25 yards out, and he played a measured pass into the path of BEN WHITEHEAD as he darted left - to the left channel front edge of the visitor’s penalty area. As the striker reached the ball, and without hesitation, he fired a left footed shot across his body and the diving Pryce that arrowed to the top right corner of the goal.  1-0.  

During the next five minutes Whitehead fired over the bar, after Griffin ‘chested’ a Pook free kick back to him, and Bennett clipped the top of the Winchester bar from the right flank.

Winchester made a determined effort to pull the goal back as the game was drawing to a close but Cirencester were not to be denied their first home win and a resolute defence held on to keep their first clean sheet of the season and secure a ‘confidence boosting’ three points.

Full Time:  1-0

This was an improved performance from the home side in an ‘end-to-end’ match in tricky conditions due to the thunderstorm that produced a slick surface that required accurate passing.

The defence was solid with Matt Wieczorek coming to the fore when required, the midfield hard-working and the forwards lively. 


Attendance:     121

Referee:          Ciaran Barlow


Cirencester Town:

 1.   Matt Wieczorek
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Ellis Dunton                                              
 4.   Michael Pook
 5.   Jordan Stoddart
 6.   Matt Coupe           
 7.   Henry Spalding
 8.   Adam Connolly
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)
10.   Ben Whitehead                                         78                                           
11.   Matt Jones           

12.   James Mortimer-Jones
14.   Aidan Bennett                                (Henry Spalding-60mins)         
15.   Scott Rose  (GK)              
16.   Jack Watts                                     (Jordan Stoddart-88mins)                  
17.   Louis Loader                                  (Ben Whitehead-92mins)


Winchester City:

 1.  Ryan Pryce
 2.  Dan Williamson
 3.  Andy Jenkinson
 4.  Adam Tomasso
 5.  Rob Flooks
 6.  Josh Harefield
 7.  Simba Mlambo
 8.  Craig Davis
 9.  Jamie Barrow     (C)
10.  Pat Cox
11.  Rob Carr

12.  Dan King                            
14.  Joe Hayward
15.  Richard Andrady
16.  Ik Hill                                            (Craig Davis-81mins)
17.  Oli Bailey                                       (Simba Mlambo-65mins)           

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