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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South


Barnstaple Town  0 – 5  Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

Cirencester made an early start for their journey to Devon to face Barnstaple Town and on a soft, heavy pitch, due to the incessant rain, came away with a solid, workmanlike 5-nil victory.

Upon arrival the pitch looked to be in good condition – lush fine texture to the grass surface – but once the ‘warm-ups’ commenced it was obvious it was very soft and would quickly cut-up to provide a difficult surface for the players to exhibit their skills when the real action began.

The home side sit in 20th place in the League Table to Cirencester’s 7th position but in terms of current form - based on the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table - Barnstaple were in 17th place with 6 points secured from notable victories over Winchester and Yate, whilst Cirencester were in 10th place with 8 points.

Cirencester Manager Charlie Griffin kept faith with the personnel that lost to Paulton Rovers in the 8-goal thriller by naming an unchanged starting eleven for this match.


The hosts kicked off and attacked down their left flank but they were soon under pressure as Cirencester worked the ball to their right corner to win a corner kick. Jack Freeman delivered the kick to the near post where ALAN GRIFFIN held off a challenge to produce a firm header that crashed off the underside of the cross-bar and down over the line despite the efforts of a defender.  0-1.

A couple of minutes later Cirencester ‘keeper Luke Merchant struggled to keep his footing as he attempted to clear a back-pass on the soft pitch and the ball landed at the feet of Jack Langford, 20 yards out – left of centre, but in his eagerness to take advantage he fired wide of the right post.

Cirencester were gradually increasing the pressure and won several corner kicks – one of which came about as Ben Whitehead reached the left by-line to send a low cross towards a supporting Freeman but James Dart was alert to the danger and managed to block at the near post.

At the mid-point of the half Harry Stevens collected a through ball near the right channel front edge of the Cirencester penalty area and his resulting shot was parried by Merchant for a corner kick that reached the front edge of the 6 yard box to be headed away. Jack Jenkins attempted a right footed volley as the ball dropped, under pressure from Freeman, and as a result his effort was high over the bar.    

Shortly afterwards Cirencester doubled their tally as the ball was fed to ALAN GRIFFIN, with his back to goal, left channel front edge of the home area, and despite several challenges he managed to retain possession as he worked his way to the right channel front edge to clip a fine finish inside the left post as he turned.  0-2.

The home side responded to this further setback as Harry Stevens latched onto a pass down the left channel into the Cirencester penalty area and took it round an advancing Merchant to the front corner of the 6 yard box but his shot was blocked by a covering Alex Albert and cleared.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes of the half Whitehead had several shots blocked in a frantic period for the striker and also missed the target from a narrow angle after he was forced wide as he rounded ‘keeper Robert Holmes.  

The home side finished the half with a flurry as Tallan Mitchell shot wide of the left post and George Nancekivell headed a free kick past the right post.

Half Time:  0-2

Immediately from the re-start Barnstaple pressed leading to a goalmouth scramble and a counter attack from the visitors as Whitehead embarked on a 30 yard run that took him to the right channel of the home penalty area for a 1v1 with Holmes who prevented further progress - but the ball was recycled to Louis Spalding who chipped it over the bar from 25 yards..

Within minutes Mike Pook, on halfway, clipped the ball to Tommy Anderson who darted to the right corner before slipping it inside to Whitehead who lost it as he moved left to shoot – but this was a practice for what came next.

Ten minutes into the half BEN WHITEHEAD collected a quick throw on the right flank, turned, moved left towards the right front corner of the area and unleashed a rocket of a strike that flew into the top left corner.  0-3.

This goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Barnstaple and Cirencester began to dominate as they won a series of corner kicks before the hour mark.

During the next ten minutes Cirencester pressed with Griffin and Aidan Bennett having efforts saved – Bennett’s strike was so powerful it bounced off the ‘keeper’s chest but he recovered before Griffin could collect.  

As the mid-point approached Barnstaple mounted a couple of counter attacks as Langford burst to the left channel of the Cirencester penalty area to win a corner kick that Dart headed wide of the left post and then Langford combined with Stevens to flick his cross wide of the right post with his heel.  

The pitch was by now very heavy and taking its toll on players and as a result substitutions were being made.

With ten minutes remaining Cirencester produced a slick piece of play as Pook displayed admirable footwork on the muddy surface to evade a couple of challenges before sliding the ball down the right channel for Anderson to instantly lay-off to TOMMY OULDRIDGE as he burst forward. The midfielder took the ball to the edge of the area and with total conviction calmly slotted it inside the right post.  0-4.    

Five minutes later Ouldridge supplied the ball to WILL CHRISTOPHER on the right flank, 35 yards out, and he looked up and spotting Holmes off his line produced a terrific strike that dipped over the ‘keeper and under the bar.  0-5.  

As the game was drawing to a close Jack Rice- Lethaby, who had moved to the right flank, tested Merchant’s concentration as he sent a dangerous cross into the Cirencester goalmouth and shot at the target but the ‘keeper dealt with both comfortably.

Full Time:   0-5

Considering the difficult conditions, pitch and weather, the game was played in a good spirit and yielded some superbly taken goals.

The home side continued to battle until the final whistle, despite the score-line, but Cirencester were in determined mood following last week’s defeat.  


The travelling Cirencester supporters would like to thank Barnstaple for their hospitality on a wet, miserable day.


Attendance:  55                                   Referee:   Lewis Sandoe          




1.  Robert Holmes
2.  Ross Jones
3.  Mike Humphreys
4.  James Dart
5.  Stephen Reed
6.  Jack Rice-Lethaby
7.  Tallan Mitchell
8.  Jack Jenkins     (C)
9.  Harry Stevens
10.  George Nancekivell
11.  Jack Langford

12.  Louie Slough                                    (Tallan Mitchell-52mins)
14.  Archie Reay                                     (Stephen Reed-57mins)
15.  Ben Paul                                           (Jack Langford-74mins)
16.  Tony Radford
17.  Ross Middleton



1.  Luke Merchant
2.  Ellis Dunton
3.  Louis Spalding
4.  Mike Pook
5.  Alex Albert
6.  Baboucarr Jarra
7.  Tommy Anderson
8.  Jack Freeman
9.  Alan Griffin     (C)                                       5, 28
10.  Ben Whitehead                                          55
11.  Aidan Bennett

12.  Will Christopher                              (Mike Pook-80mins) 84
14.  Adam Connolly
15.  Jordan Morris                                  (Aidan Bennett-70mins)
16.  Tommy Ouldridge                            (Jack Freeman-78mins) 80
17.  Scott Rose  (GK)

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