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Evo Stik Southern League 2017/18

West Division

 

Cirencester Town  2 – 1  Bideford  

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography 

 

When the two sides met in October Bideford secured a comfortable 3-0 victory and following this result they embarked on a run that took them to 4th in the League table but recently they have had a number of games postponed and this has seen them drop to 10th – albeit with many games in hand.

The ‘6-Match Form Guide Table’ places them 3rd (12 points from a possible 18) but they have only played 5 matches since the beginning of 2018 - with 5 postponements and an abandonment in mid-week at Kidlington and could well be ‘ring-rusty’.

Cirencester however have been in a good run of form recently and sit at the top of the ‘form table’ with 15 points and are in 11th place in the league table – 2 points behind Bideford – although the visitors have 6 games in hand over them.

The Cirencester starting eleven had a number of enforced changes from the side that took to the pitch at Evesham and secured an important 5-2 victory as Alex Albert (hospital) and Louis Spalding (suspended) were unavailable. To accommodate these absences Adam Connolly moved to Centre Back alongside Ellis Dunton (making his final appearance before leaving for Australia on Monday) and the versatile Aidan Bennett started at Left Back. Alan Griffin completed the starting eleven alongside Ben Whitehead in a 4-4-2 formation.

 

The visitors kicked-off and immediately attacked down their left flank as Sean Downing made a strong run to the corner where Will Christopher won the ball to start a counter attack.

During the opening minutes it was very clear that Bideford intended to take the game to their hosts as they pressed down their left flank for some minutes before Cirencester countered as Ben Whitehead collected the ball on the edge of the Bideford penalty area, turned, and darted into the right channel where ‘keeper Steve Oliver was quickly off his line to dive at his feet and smother the ball.

Minutes later Henry Spalding intercepted a Bideford pass 15 yards inside the Cirencester half and played it to Tommy Anderson in the centre circle who promptly sent it wide to Christopher as he advanced down the right flank. The full back spotted Spalding in space, moving forward and sent a terrific cross-field pass to him, near the left front corner of the Bideford area, and this enabled Spalding to take a couple of touches before unleashing a fierce drive that passed narrowly over the top left corner of the goal.

With 15 minutes on the clock Alan Griffin closed down a defender, as he attempted to clear down their right flank, to win a throw that led to Aidan Bennett working his way along the by-line before crossing but Oliver caught the ball at full stretch.

Shortly afterwards the visitors repelled another Cirencester attack and countered down the centre through the busy Ryan Turner

By the mid-point of the half the game was ‘end-to-end’ as both sides worked the ball forward to be denied as they reached the penalty area by their opponent’s defences.

Bideford’s Ben Seymour worked his way along the edge of the Cirencester area, from right to left, before shooting but Thom Jonkerman gathered the effort, low to his left, comfortably.  

By the half hour mark Cirencester were moving the ball about, switching play from wing to wing with neat, quick passing involving several players and one such move as Whitehead played the ball to Spalding created an opening for a charging Tommy Ouldridge to fire over from the centre front edge of the penalty area.

Into the last ten minutes of the half Bideford were awarded a free kick on their left flank that reached Dan Harrison but his header was wide of the right post.

As the half was drawing to a close Adam Connolly was awarded a Yellow Card for a firm challenge that in my day would not have raised any eyebrows but despite this moments later he produced a sensational tackle, as the dangerous Seymour burst into the home penalty area, to hook the ball off the toe of the Bideford man.   

Half Time:  0-0

‘The Robins’ came out of the blocks quickly after the break but it was Cirencester who created the first chance as Whitehead crossed from the left corner and Griffin headed wide of the left post.

This was quickly followed by an exchange of passes between Anderson and Christopher that resulted in a superb low cross that flew through the Bideford 6 yard box with Griffin just unable to reach it.

Cirencester continued to work the ball down their flanks whilst Bideford’s Downing and Ben Carter had snap shots at the target from 25 yards – neither troubling Jonkerman.

As the third quarter was coming to an end Bideford pressed and Downing headed a corner kick from the left over the home bar and Josh Key latched onto a ball over the top of the home defence to reach the by-line where Jonkerman darted out to block his attempted cross.

A few minutes later Key was prominent again as he dribbled into the left channel of the Cirencester penalty area where Jonkerman dived at his feet to bring his progress to an end.

In between these efforts Anderson and Christopher worked the ball down the right flank to Whitehead who shot narrowly wide of the right post.  

Cirencester were increasing the pressure on their visitors as Griffin headed a cross wide of the right post and Spalding had a shot deflected for a corner kick that led to the opening goal.

Mike Pook sent the corner kick from the left towards the penalty spot where Bennett produced a firm header that looked destined for the top right corner until Oliver dived to his left to block with the ball dropping near the centre of the goal for ALAN GRIFFIN to head into the net from a couple of yards.  1-0.

Buoyed by this success Anderson and Christopher combined again for the fullback to send another superb ball through the Bideford 6 yard box as Whitehead closed.

A few minutes later Anderson and Christopher were at it again resulting in a foul on Christopher on the right flank that Spalding sent into the mix. Whitehead reached the kick and struck the crossbar with the ball rebounding towards the far left post where Ellis Dunton reacted to clip the underside of the bar. As the ball came down ALAN GRIFFIN managed to bundle it over the line.  2-0.

With nothing to lose Bideford threw everything at the Cirencester defence as Seymour shot over the bar from 25 yards and Kevin Squire drew a fine save from Jonkerman.

On the 90 minute mark their effort was rewarded when a cross from their right flank reached JOSH KEY to the left of the penalty spot and he managed to produce a cushioned header that cleared Jonkerman to drop into the back of the net.  2-1.  

During the period of added-time the home defence stood firm as Bideford bombarded them with crosses and Cirencester nearly increased their lead as Ouldridge sent a pass through the visitor’s penalty area with Whitehead closing rapidly.

In what turned out to be the final minute Whitehead received the ball from Ouldridge for a 1v1 with Oliver but the ‘keeper managed to read his intent to block at the strikers feet.   

Full Time:  2-1

Another entertaining game of attacking football at The Corinium Stadium with both sides seeking the win.

Whilst there were not too many attempts on goal in the 90+ minutes due to some excellent defending there was plenty of excitement in the closing stages once Cirencester had scored.

The result was vital for Cirencester as it extends their run of victories and keeps their faint hopes of a ‘play-off’ place alive.

 

P.S.  After the game Chairman Steve Abbley presented Ellis Dunton with a bottle of wine and extended the Club’s thanks and best wishes as he embarks on a new adventure in Australia.  

 

Attendance:     130                               Referee:          Ivan Gelov

 

Cirencester Town:

 1.   Thom Jonkerman
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Aidan Bennett                                          
 4.   Michael Pook
 5.   Ellis Dunton
 6.   Tommy Ouldridge 
 7.   Henry Spalding
 8.   Adam Connolly
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)                                     75, 79                                                 
10.   Ben Whitehead
11.   Tommy Anderson  

12.   James Mortimer-Jones
14.   Max Lloyd
15.   Mason Lewis
13.   Matt Wieczorek  (GK)                              

 

Bideford:

 1.  Steve Oliver
 2.  Ian Sampson
 3.  Steve Reed
 4.  Sean Downing
 5.  Dan Harrison
 6.  James Mayne
 7.  Matt Bye     (C)      
 8.  Ben Carter
 9.  Ryan Turner
10.  Ben Seymour
11.  Joshua Key                                                 90

12.  Dan Western
14.  Scott Beattie
15.  Kevin Squire                                   (Ryan Turner-65mins)
16.  Will Hancox                                   (Sean Downing-79mins)
17.  Oliver Mehew                                 (Steve Reed-76mins)    

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