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Evo Stik Southern League 2017/18

West Division


Bishops Cleeve   0 – 1   Cirencester Town

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography 

Cirencester made the short trip to face local rivals Bishops Cleeve in this midweek fixture and it is fair to say that the teams battled the pitch conditions as much as each other. The recent rain and heavy frost followed by sunshine in the afternoon had resulted in a heavy pitch with variable bounce and mud patches making it difficult to play flowing football.

The home side had won their last two matches in their quest to keep their place in the Southern League and would no doubt be up for the challenge. As a result of their victories they have moved up to 16th place in the ‘6-match form guide’ table (Cirencester 9th) whilst reducing the points gap between them and Barnstaple at the bottom of the table. In their recent run of form Cirencester have maintained their 13th place in the league table.

The visitors started with the same ‘back five’ as Saturday but made a couple of changes in midfield as Aidan Bennett and James Mortimer-Jones started.


Cirencester kicked off and attacked down their right flank through Tommy Anderson and had the first pot at goal as James Mortimer-Jones fired wide of the right post after 3 minutes.

The visitors pressed down both flanks during the early stages and Ben Whitehead confidently took a shot on the turn after darting down the left channel of the area but ‘keeper Sam Gilder was positioned to make the catch.

A minute or so later a long cross-field pass from the right flank to the left channel of the pitch looked destined for Jack Watts as he burst through but when it landed it didn’t bounce as expected and the striker over-ran the ball enabling Will Christopher to collect and clear the danger.

Shortly afterwards Cirencester worked the ball down the right flank as Anderson made ground from half way before laying it back to Christopher, inside to Mortimer-Jones, forward to Tommy Ouldridge who took on the shot but a partial block took the pace out of the shot enabling Gilder to collect.  

At the mid-point of the half Watts latched onto the ball just outside the Cirencester penalty area and struck a firm shot towards the top left corner where ‘keeper Thom Jonkerman moved across to make the catch.

During the next few minutes the home side pushed forward and Watts fired over the bar and Adam Connolly used his experience to good effect to deny them further progress.

As the half drew to a close both sides had moments of possession but nothing to trouble either ‘keeper.

There was plenty of endeavour on display but few clear-cut chances in the first half.

Half Time:    0-0

Almost immediately after the re-start Whitehead carried the ball to the left by-line where he crossed into the box and a home defender calmly ‘chested’ the ball back to his ‘keeper at the back post.

Cirencester had started the half positively, with Anderson on the right and Bennett on the left driving to the side edges of the home area, resulting in a couple of corner kicks in succession that Cleeve survived.

Whilst Cirencester had been pressing during these early minutes Cleeve were dangerous on the break as witnessed by Watts feeding Joe Bates as he burst down the right channel and crossed towards the far post where Ieuan Crowe tried an ambitious over-head kick that looped and somehow stayed on the pitch for Watts to collect and shoot from the left channel of the area. His effort also stayed in play for Bates to collect but Cirencester eventually cleared the danger.   

Around the hour mark Cirencester produced a neat move as Bennett, on the left flank, slipped the ball inside to Henry Spalding, forward to Whitehead, right to Anderson who cut left from the right flank and drove a left footed shot at the target that Gilder saved.

Anderson was in the action again a couple of minutes later as he dribbled across the front edge of the area looking for an opening but Cleeve stood firm and he had to play the ball back to start again.

Play switched to the Cirencester left flank and Ellis Dunton fed Whitehead who produced clever footwork to lose two would-be challengers at once before sending the ball out to Anderson on the right. Anderson’s path was blocked as he cut-in resulting in a corner kick.

Just after the mid-point of the half Christopher and Whitehead combined to create an opening for Spalding but he sent his effort wide of the left post.

Cirencester were at this stage pressing hard in search of a goal and when they worked the ball from left to right it resulted in a corner kick from the right that Spalding sent to the back post where ELLIS DUNTON was lurking - to the left of the post, just inside the 6 yard box – and as the ball dropped he struck a sweet left footed shot that flew inside the top corner of the far right post.  0-1.   

Five minutes later Cleeve were awarded a free kick on their left flank that Mike Pook managed to cut-out and sweep to Whitehead who immediately slipped it to Anderson on the charge from half way down the right flank. As he neared the home area he played it left to a supporting Spalding who pulled his effort wide of the right post from the left channel front edge of the area.  

As the game entered the final ten minutes Cleeve’s Anthony Burton burst into the Cirencester penalty area where Alex Albert covered to concede a corner kick that was defended but the home side were making a determined effort and Connolly was once again called upon to defend against Bates.

The action then switched to the other end as Whitehead received the ball from Alan Griffin on the right flank and cut left into the home area looking for an opening. One came but he delayed his shot and when he did shoot Gilder made the block.

In a frantic few final minutes Romayne Thomas played the ball back to Michael Ford who sent it into the Cirencester penalty area but in their eagerness they committed a foul and the danger was over.

At the scheduled 90 minute mark Whitehead was set free in the left channel of the Cleeve area for a 1v1 with Gilder and as he pulled the trigger the ball bobbled and he sliced it wide of the left post.

In the final moments of the match Griffin headed to Tommy Anderson as he burst down the right channel and into the home area where he struck a fierce shot that rebounded off the far left post and out.

Seconds later the Referee blew the final whistle.

Full Time:  0-1

Certainly not a classic match due to the pitch conditions but it was full of honest effort and commitment.

After their recent heavy defeats on grass Cirencester will be pleased to have got over the line in this difficult encounter.


Attendance:     101                                           Referee:          R. Walker (Redditch)


Bishops Cleeve:

 1.  Sam Gilder     (C)
 2.  Olly Butler
 3.  Jamie Lock
 4.  James McCarthy
 5.  Jordan Staten
 6.  Ben Tunnicliff
 7.  Harrison Iddles
 8.  Michael Ford
 9.  Ieuan Crowe          
10.  Joe Bates
11.  Jack Watts

12.  Anthony Burton                              (Olly Butler-74mins)                
14.  Joe Noakes                                    (Harrison Iddles-74mins)
15.  Romayne Thomas                          (Ieuan Crowe-67mins)
20.  Elliott Seddon


Cirencester Town:

 1.   Thom Jonkerman
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Ellis Dunton                                               70                                           
 4.   Michael Pook
 5.   Alexandru Albert
 6.   James Mortimer-Jones     
 7.   Tommy Ouldridge
 8.   Adam Connolly     (C)
 9.   Aidan Bennett
10.   Ben Whitehead
11.   Tommy Anderson  

12.   Alan Griffin                                  (Aidan Bennett-82mins)
14.   Henry Spalding                           (Tommy Ouldridge-58mins)
15.   Max Lloyd
16.   Mason Lewis                                 
17.   Scott Rose            

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