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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South

 

Larkhall Athletic  1 – 2  Cirencester Town

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

 

Cirencester were on the road again, for the fourth match in a row, when they travelled to Bath to face Larkhall Athletic in a Southern League South fixture and after ‘scrappy’ match a second half penalty converted by Ben Whitehead secured the 3 points.

Prior to the match the home side sat in 15th position in the Division table with 6 points from their 6 games whilst Cirencester were in 12th place with 7 points from the same number of games.

The only change to the ‘The Centurions’ starting eleven was the return of Ellis Dunton following his one match suspension in place of Alex Albert who was unavailable.

 

‘The Centurions’ struggled to find their rhythm on a firm, bumpy pitch but despite this a neat exchange between Aidan Bennett and Alan Griffin led to the former clipping the outside of the left post after seven minutes.  

The home side responded as Mason Winter launched a couple of balls into the Cirencester area that were repelled and soon sent back downfield by ‘keeper Shaun Semmens to test the visitors defence further as Alex Lambert and Lewis Powell tried to capitalise.

Encouraged from the ‘dug-out’ Cirencester stuck to the task as they worked their flanks whilst Larkhall continued with their more direct approach and shortly after the mid-point a free kick reached Bennett on the left flank, back to Louis Spalding, forward to Griffin, laid back to Antonio Gerrish who shot narrowly over the top left corner of the goal from the edge of the home area.

Three minutes later Cirencester were back again as Ben Whitehead’s shot from the right was blocked and re-cycled to the left for Bennett to send it back to Whitehead who searched for a shooting opportunity before laying it back to Gerrish – this time his shot was partially blocked and spiralled into the air for Semmens to gather at the second attempt near his by-line.

Cirencester were enjoying a dominant period and when Gerrish collected the ball in the centre circle he quickly moved it left to Tommy Anderson as he darted forward. They exchanged passes again before feeding BEN WHITEHEAD, in the left channel of the area, and he wasted no time in smashing the ball into the top left corner.  0-1.      

As the half was drawing to a close George King latched onto a loose ball just outside the Cirencester area but fired wide of the left post as he was closed down.

Cirencester’s reply was immediate as Will Christopher galloped down the right flank before crossing to Whitehead, just behind the penalty spot, but the ball bounce high to finish above his waist resulting in the strikers shot going over the bar.

In the final two minutes Ellis Dunton stuck his head in the way of a couple of fierce crosses to deny Larkhall progress as they finished with a flurry.

Half Time:  0-1

Larkhall began the second period positively and it soon became evident that they were intent on launching the ball into the Cirencester box at every opportunity and it wasn’t long before the tactic worked as LEWIS POWELL darted forward to latch onto a free kick from the right touch-line to produce a clever, glancing, header from near the right front corner of the 6 yard box that clipped the inside of the far left post on its way into the net.  1-1.

Just before the goal, after five minutes, Mike Pook sent a Cirencester free kick to the centre front edge of the home 6 yard box where it was cleared to Bennett, 22 yards out, and he struck a superb, low, controlled volley with his right foot that looked destined for the back of the net. It was blocked near the line but retrieved by Bennett who moved it forward to Griffin, right to Gerrish, back to Pook, right to Christopher to recycle down the right flank through Anderson.

The ‘wide-man’ had been having a terrific battle with Wayne Nderemani all match and as he cut in he was brought down leading to both players being ‘Yellow Carded’ – a warning for a little later.

Larkhall were encouraged by their goal and shortly afterwards Matt Groves clipped the top of the bar and Powell headed a cross from the right flank into the arms of a grateful Matt Wieczorek.

Due to the pressure Cirencester had to rely on counter attacks and when Griffin released Anderson down the right he made ground to the corner before cutting left into the box where he was brought down by Nderemani resulting in a penalty kick.

BEN WHITEHEAD stepped up and drove the ball inside the right post.  1-2.

From this point onwards it became a barrage of long balls into the Cirencester box but Cirencester ‘dug-in’ with everyone doing their bit to mount counter attacks whenever possible.

Aidan Bennett had a cross-shot from the left ‘tipped-over’ the bar as the game approached the final 15 minutes and Jack Freeman fired over but generally it was ‘backs-to-the-wall’ defending for the rest of the half.

Full Time:   1-2

Certainly not a game of flowing football for the purist but one of differing styles that had lots of action in and around the penalty areas.

 

Attendance:  120                                                Referee:   Rob Cockle                          

 

 

LARKHALL ATHLETIC: 

 1.   Shaun Semmens
 2.   Mason Winter
 3.   Wayne Nderemani
 4.   Matt Britton     (C)
 5.   Gary Colbourne
 6.   Josh Jones
 7.   Alex Lambert
 8.   Geraint Bater
 9.   Greg Peel
10.   Lewis Powell                                              54
11.   Matt Groves         

12.   Harry Hope                                   (Greg Peel-46mins)      
14.   Jack Dancey                                 (Matt Groves-84mins)
15.   Rory Huntbach
16.   George King                                   (Geraint Bater-34mins)
17.   Neil Arndale

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN: 

 1.   Matt Wieczorek
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Louis Spalding
 4.   Mike Pook
 5.   Ellis Dunton
 6.   Antonio Gerrish
 7.   Tommy Anderson
 8.   Adam Connolly
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)                                    
10.   Ben Whitehead                                         36, 62p                                              
11.   Aidan Bennett

12.   Henry Spalding                             (Tommy Anderson-67mins)
14.   Jack Freeman                               (Antonio Gerrish-57mins)
15.   Jordan Morris                               (Aidan Bennett-84mins)
16.   Owen Windsor
17.   James Mortimer-Jones

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