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Pre-Season Friendly

Cirencester Town   6 – 0   Fairford Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

 

Cirencester’s fifth Pre-Season Friendly Match against neighbours Fairford Town was due to be played at Fairford but the extended period of very hot weather has impacted on their pitch preparations and as a result the fixture was reversed.

Fairford Town, who play in the Premier Division of the Hellenic League, are managed by Jody Bevan (in his second season) and Jamie Reid (his new Assistant) - two former favourites at The Corinium Stadium.

The Cirencester starting eleven contained two trialists - ‘keeper Luke Merchant and Jack Freeman (midfield) - and included Mason Lewis alongside Adam Connolly in central defence with Ellis Dunton moving to right back. Henry Spalding moved to wide midfield to make room for Freeman and Aidan Bennett played on the other wing as manager Charlie Griffin mixed the squad to give everyone some ‘game-time’.    

The Fairford Town side had a number of familiar faces with Cirencester connections (in addition to their management) as Nathan Hawkins, Callum Preece and Robbie James have all previously performed for The Centurions. Robbie James in particular came through the ‘Juniors’ and the ‘Development Team’ before moving to Fairford for the upcoming season.

 

The visitors kicked off but it was Cirencester who had the first corner kick a couple of minutes into the match.

Fairford responded immediately as they pressed to create openings for Dan Bailey and he was not shy at taking a shot - 3 pots at goal within the first 8 minutes – two of which required ‘keeper Luke Merchant to be alert to tip them over his crossbar.

Shortly afterwards Louis Spalding advanced down the left flank and crossed into the Fairford penalty area where Robbie James cleared with the ball eventually reaching Ellis Dunton who sent it back down the right channel for Alan Griffin to slip it to Henry Spalding on the right flank. The resulting cross to the back post was ushered out for a corner kick by John Watson and subsequently defended leading to a counter attack to the home penalty area as Fairford pressed.

Whilst Fairford were seeing plenty of the ball Cirencester were dangerous on the counter and a Dunton break to the right corner led to a corner kick from the left that reached Griffin who headed down but into the arms of a well positioned Louis Barnfather.

A couple of minutes later another Dunton break and cross resulted in a corner kick from the right that Henry Spalding sent to the back post where it was headed back into the mix – eventually reaching AIDAN BENNETT, to the right of the penalty spot, who managed to produce a left footed, waist high volley on the turn that flew through the bodies into the net.  1-0.

Almost immediately from the re-start Ben Whitehead sent a raking pass from the halfway line, right channel, to Henry Spalding , left touchline, who in turn fed brother Louis as he overlapped to the corner. Once there Louis crossed to the back post where Whitehead connected to send the ball across the front of the goal for Griffin to have a go but blocked and cleared.

Undeterred Fairford pressed and tested the home defence and just after the half hour mark Bailey intercepted a cross-field pass, centrally 25 yards out, to get in behind the Cirencester defence and move forward to the edge of the box to strike but he did not connect as cleanly with this effort as he had done previously and Merchant was able to make the save.

Fairford continued to press and when James intercepted on half-way he continued his run to shoot from 25 yards, centrally, but his effort was blocked, recovered and fed to Jack Beardsell who carried the ball into the left channel of the area before shooting but his effort was also blocked.    

A couple of minutes before the interval Henry Spalding crossed from the left corner to BEN WHITEHEAD, centre front edge of the 6 yard box, who was quickly surrounded for his first effort to be blocked but it rebounded to him and this time he made no mistake.  2-0.  

On the stroke of half time Jack Freeman displayed some clever footwork on halfway to retain the ball before sending it down the left channel for Whitehead but Barnfather was quickly out to smother on the edge of his area.

Half Time:  2-0

During the second half both sides made a number of changes and this appeared to disrupt the visitors more than the home side.

Two minutes into the half Whitehead sent the ball out Tommy Anderson on the right flank and followed his pass to receive it back, cut left and shot for Barnfather to push it wide for a corner kick that was too long enabling the visitors to clear.

Five minutes later John Thomas latched onto a miss-placed back pass to enter the right channel of the area but his shot under pressure from an advancing Merchant and recovering defence went into the side netting.

Shortly afterwards Whitehead sent the ball down the left channel for AIDAN BENNETT to collect behind the Fairford defence and drive towards goal, rounding an advancing Barnfather in the process, before tucking it into the empty net.  3-0.

On the hour Fairford launched an attack as Rich Thwaite released Liam Thomas down the right flank, forward to Ben Lodge who took the ball into the home penalty area where he was dispossessed.

At the mid-point of the half Josh Beadle burst into the right channel of the Fairford penalty area to collect a pass but he was forced wide, and as he neared the by-line he surprised everyone with a sharp turn and shot that Barnfather caught at his left post.

Back came Fairford as Thomas headed on to Lodge who reached the right front edge of the home area but as he cut inside he was closed down and after a number of twists and turns to find an opening he attempted to pass the ball to Thomas but it was cut out by Dunton.

Ben Mitchell replaced Louis Barnfather in the Fairford goal with 16 scheduled minutes remaining and his first involvement a minute later was to see Bennett closing in on his goal, after collecting a long ball over the defence, followed by a shot that led to a corner kick from the left that MIKE FORD deflected into the net from the edge of the 6 yard box.  4-0.

A few minutes later Cirencester produced the move of the match as they worked the ball out of defence, right back area to centre to left flank, forward to Jordan Morris (centre front edge of the area), slipped left to Dan Wheeler to send a low cross to the back post where Bennett finished but was ruled ‘offside’.

Undeterred Cirencester broke down the right channel for Jack Horrell to draw Mitchell before slipping it left for MIKE FORD to score his second from close range.  5-0.

Almost immediately from the restart the ball reached DAN WHEELER, right of the penalty spot, who fired home to complete the scoring. 6-0.

Cirencester were finishing strongly with Morris prominent as he was first released by Horrell to send a low cross from left to right for Bennett but his effort was blocked by Mitchell at the back post. Morris then saw his cross from the left punched out and finally the ball was worked forward by Dunton, Mason Hathaway and Wheeler to him near the left front corner of the area. He sent it right towards Bennett who let it run into the path of Beadle on the burst who fired narrowly over the bar.

Full Time:   6-0

A very entertaining first half with Fairford competitive and seeing plenty of the ball but unable to convert their chances.

Cirencester were a little more clinical.

The second half changes favoured Cirencester who finished strongly whilst Fairford failed to find the rhythm of their earlier play.

A good work-out for both sides however.

Referee:          Daniel Jacobs

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

Luke Merchant (Matt Wieczorek 80), Ellis Dunton, Louis Spalding (Jordan Morris 65), Mike Pook (Jack Horrell 56), Mason Lewis (Mason Hathaway 45), Jack Freeman (Mike Ford 56), Henry Spalding (Tommy Anderson 45), Adam Connolly (Will Christopher 45), Alan Griffin (Josh Beadle 56), Ben Whitehead (Dan Wheeler 65), Aidan Bennett 54.

 

FAIRFORD TOWN: 

Louis Barnfather (Ben Mitchell 74), John Watson (Liam Thomas 45), Steve Hall (Michael Oakes 60), Robbie James, Nathan Hawkins (Rich Thwaite 45), Callum Preece, Dan Bailey (Harrison Jones 56), Ben Snook (Paul Carter 65), John Thomas, Jack Beardsell (Charlie Bailey 65), Ben Lodge.

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