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Pre-Season Friendly

Cirencester Town   0 – 4   Cheltenham Town


Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

Cirencester’s second match in four days, as they continue their preparations for the new season, brought Football League Division 2 neighbours Cheltenham Town to The Corinium Stadium.

The Cirencester starting line-up contained the majority of last season’s regular squad – with Louis Spalding (who spent a period on loan with The Centurions) and Jordan Morris (who was at Shortwood United last season) the exceptions.   

A strong Cheltenham Town side kicked off proceedings and showed their intent as home ‘keeper Matt Wieczorek was called into action a couple of times in the first three minutes – comfortably catching crosses.  

Cirencester countered as Will Christopher played the ball down the right flank for Ben Whitehead to chase but Will Boyce was across to cut out the threat.

With seven minutes on the clock a long ball from the right channel found the highly rated and valued MO EISA near the front edge of the 6 yard box and he swept his effort inside the left post to open the scoring.  0-1.

A minute later MO EISA doubled his and Cheltenham’s score when Cheltenham trialist (Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala) played a clever ball from just outside the penalty area to him – he evaded a couple of challenges to the left of the penalty spot before calmly tucking the ball inside the left post. 0-2.

The visitors Eisa and Lumbombo-Kalala were very mobile and linking well to test the home defence and a superb piece of control saw Ryan Broom pluck a long cross to him on the left side edge of the penalty area out of the air before cutting right into the area and firing high and wide.

Despite these early setbacks and the difference in quality and fitness Cirencester continued to play their passing football to work the ball forward after being under pressure and around the mid-point of the half Christopher played a terrific pass down the right channel, behind the Cheltenham defence, for Whitehead to challenge a turning Boyle. The striker won the ball and immediately fired at the target but it was deflected for a corner kick that came to nought.

Minutes later Ellis Dunton repeated this when he slid a 40 yard pass down the same channel for Tommy Anderson to chase to the front edge of the penalty area but as the winger looked to collect ‘keeper Scott Flinders advanced to take it off his toe.

The visitors dominated large passages of play but it took until the 27th minute for them to score again as KALVIN LUMBOMBO-KALALA drove the ball into the roof of the net from the right channel of the penalty area.  0-3.

In response Cirencester worked the ball forward from defence from right to left and back to the right flank through Dunton, Adam Connolly, Mike Pook and Christopher on the right touchline. The final cross reached Alan Griffin as he charged forward to head but he was deemed to be offside.

As the half was drawing to a close Cirencester enjoyed their own period of possession as they worked the ball across the pitch again with several players involved but Cheltenham defended the resultant crosses.

The final goal of the half, and the game, came two minutes from the interval as Cheltenham countered and fed MO EISA on the edge of the area and he smashed the ball inside the top left corner to complete his hat-trick.  0-4.

Half Time:  0-4

During the interval Jack Freeman replaced Mike Pook and Cheltenham made seven changes and as a result the second half was much more even.

Within minutes of the re-start Freeman fired over the bar from 25 yards after Whitehead set him up.

Ten minutes into the half Alex Addai raced to the right by-line and sent a dangerous low cross into the area that Dunton cut-out at full stretch on the centre front edge of the 6 yard box.

The Cirencester response was immediate as Aidan Bennett produced a driving run down the left touchline, slipped the ball inside to Henry Spalding who moved it forward to Griffin and he returned it to Bennett who had continued his run to the left corner. The subsequent cross was cut-out and reached Cirencester’s right flank to be supplied to an overlapping Christopher who fired a fierce, low shot at the near post from the by-line that Rhys Lovett parried for a corner kick.

Back came Cheltenham as the ball was played into Brian Graham but as he was about to pull the trigger Adam Connolly recovered to take it off his toe. Matt Bower (a player who was loaned to Cirencester when he was 16 and a mere 6’4” – now 19 and 6’7”) got his head to the resultant corner but his effort was wide of the target.

The introduction of Bennett had resulted in a couple of strong runs and crosses but unfortunately too close to Lovett who made the necessary catches.

At the mid-point Wieczorek parried a strong shot from Graham and once again Bower was on the end of the corner kick but Wieczorek was in position to make the save.

A few minutes later Griffin fed Whitehead and his shot was blocked but collected by Henry Spalding who had two attempts from close range but both were blocked by Lovett.     

With ten minutes remaining Luke Merchant replaced Matt Wieczorek in the home goal and almost immediately he was in action as he blocked a shot near the front edge of his area after the speedy Addai had latched onto a ball down the centre.

As in the first half Cirencester were finishing strongly as Josh Beadle supplied Dunton, who had moved to right back with the introduction of Mason Lewis, for a charge down the right to the centre circle where he supplied Dan Wheeler, forward and to his left. Wheeler crossed but the ball to the far post was cut-out.

More good work on the right supplied the ball to young Owen Windsor who saw his strike blocked.

Full Time:   0-4

Inevitably, given their different levels on the football pyramid, Cheltenham dominated large periods of possession in the first half but Cirencester stuck to their task to play their passing football.

The second half was much more even with both sides creating chances but none converted.


Attendance:     187                                                       Referee:          Derek Eaton



Matt Wieczorek (Luke Merchant 80), Will Christopher (Mason Lewis 69), Louis Spalding, Mike Pook (Jack Freeman 45), Ellis Dunton, Henry Spalding (Josh Beadle 76), Tommy Anderson (Owen Windsor 72), Adam Connolly, Alan Griffin (Dan Wheeler 80), Ben Whitehead, Jordan Morris (Aidan Bennett 54).



First Half:-

Scott Flinders, Sean Long, Jordan Forster, Will Boyle, Ben Tozer, Connor Thomas, Ryan Broom, Tom Smith, Mo Eisa, Nigel Atagana, Trialist - Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala.

Second Half:-

Rhys Lovett, Ben Tozer (Tom Handley 67), Jordan Forster (Miles Scott 76), Matt Bower, Alex Addai, Will Dawes, Tom Smith (Archie Brennan 67), George Lloyd, Camden Duncan, Brian Graham, Trialist - Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (Kane Thomas 67). 

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