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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  3 – 2  Highworth Town

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

In the first of their Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday fixtures Cirencester entertained near neighbours Highworth Town at The Corinium Stadium and after an entertaining, well contested, 5-goal thriller secured the 3 points by the narrowest margin.   

In the ‘reverse’ fixture earlier in the season Cirencester won the day 3-0 but the score-line flattered as Highworth were camped in the Cirencester half for long periods of the second half so this ‘return’ will be a very competitive affair.  

Prior to this match Cirencester sat in 6th place in the League table with 27 points whilst Highworth had played one more game to secure their 25 points and were 11th. 

In terms of current form ‘The Worthians’ were 9th in the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table (11points) to Cirencester’s 13th (7points) so this too points to a challenging contest between the neighbours. 

The only change to the Cirencester starting eleven from their previous match – the 2-1 loss at Street F.C. – was the return of Tommy Ouldridge in midfield - replacing Jack Freeman who suffered a late injury in that match.

 

Cirencester kicked off proceedings and attacked down their left flank before switching to the right and once the ball was lost the visitors countered to their left corner – this was certainly a sign of things to come in a very evenly contested opening period.

As early as the 7th minute Aidan Bennett took the ball to the left side edge of the Highworth area before clipping it across the goalmouth and narrowly past the far post – this was to prove a rehearsal for an effort a few minutes later.  

‘The Worthians’ responded with a fierce strike from Chris Taylor, right channel – 30 yards out, that ‘keeper Luke Merchant managed to parry and when Ashley Edenborough latched onto the rebound he was forced wide by Merchant and eventually backwards to be lost for a counter attack as Tommy Ouldridge, left of centre – 30 yards out, released AIDAN BENNETT for another charge to the left side edge of the visitors area and this time his left footed ‘cross-cum-shot’ nestled inside the far right post, top corner. 1-0.

His 50th senior goal for the Club – WELL DONE AIDAN

Almost immediately the scores were level as Highworth responded from the re-start to enter the home area and were awarded a penalty kick that ASHLEY EDENBOROUGH fired down the centre as Merchant dived to his right.  1-1.

Cirencester reacted to this setback and worked the ball forward to be awarded a free kick, centrally – 30 yards out, that Mike Pook struck narrowly wide of the right post.

They then mounted an attack down their right flank as Will Christopher took a quick throw to Whitehead who returned it to him to clip a superb cross towards the penalty spot where Alan Griffin was arriving to produce a firm header that looked destined for the top left corner until Connor Johns intervened with a terrific, leaping dive to push it round his right post. The resulting corner kick from the left became a corner kick from the right that Whitehead delivered to the far post where BABOUCARR JARRA leapt to head inside the top left corner of the goal – his first for Cirencester.  2-1

A few minutes later Cirencester threatened again as Tommy Anderson displayed some clever footwork on the side edge of the visitor’s area before crossing to the far post where Whitehead headed over – but his disappointment soon disappeared when he saw an ‘offside’ flag raised.

As the mid-point of the half approached Wilf White played a pass down the left touchline for Edenborough to collect but as he cut into the box Alex Albert was across to deny him entry at the expense of a corner kick.

Shortly afterwards Taylor slid a pass through the Cirencester back line for Edenborough to chase but he was adjudged to be ‘offside’ as he moved to collect. 

The game had become more open as both teams searched for the ‘all-important’ next goal.

Aidan Bennett sent the ball across the pitch to Anderson who slipped it into the path of Ouldridge but his cross was intercepted and cleared, then Matty Grabe, White and Wayne Turk combined down the left flank but the final pass was too long.

Just after the half hour mark Whitehead dribbled along the left by-line before supplying Ouldridge who struck the cross-bar from left of the penalty spot. As it dropped Griffin tried to reach it but was thwarted as Johns got there first.

A few minutes later White reached the right channel front edge of the Cirencester area and unleashed a fierce shot that Merchant parried for a corner kick that Taylor delivered to left of the penalty spot where Turk headed it into the waiting arms of Merchant. 

With four minutes to the scheduled interval Highworth produced a clinical passing move in the right corner as TOUMANI SADIBI laid the ball back to Taylor, who in turn slipped it left to Turk and he instantly played it forward to Sadibi, as he cut left from the corner to the front edge of the box, who smashed it into the top right corner of the goal – Merchant could only watch and admire.  2-2.

Half Time:  2-2

After the break Cirencester started positively as Whitehead flashed a shot wide of the right post and Albert and Jarra denied Highworth progress.

Aidan Bennett displayed some nifty footwork, tight to the touchline on half-way, to play the ball inside before turning and collecting the return pass to send it forward to Griffin who in turn played it back to Bennett as he overlapped to the left channel of the area. His resulting cross towards the penalty spot was blocked as a charging Whitehead reached it resulting in a corner kick.

A few minutes later Edenborough bundled the ball into the net following a free kick but it did not count as an ‘offside’ flag was raised.

Just before the hour mark Anderson danced his way along the right by-line before clipping the ball towards Griffin at the back post. As the striker leapt Leon Morrison, just in front of him, managed to jump high enough to get a touch to deflect it over the striker.

Highworth then worked the ball forward and slid it into the path of Sadibi as he burst into the home box for a 1v1 with Merchant. The ‘keeper advanced and managed to deflect Sadibi’s effort wide of the left post with his heel. The resulting corner kick was recycled to Turk who delivered it to the back post where Sam Morris headed over the bar. 

Around the mid-point of the half both sides threatened with corner kicks and shortly afterwards Whitehead fired wide of the right post and Grabe dribbled along the left by-line to be denied by the home defence but as the final 10 minutes approached there was a breakthrough following a free kick from the Cirencester right flank.   

The kick was sent towards the penalty spot where BEN WHITEHEAD rose to produce a glancing header that cleared Johns and found the back of the net – there was some suggestion of a slight deflection en-route – to regain the lead for Cirencester.  3-2.

A minute later the diminutive Anderson challenged the larger Morrison and the ball broke to Whitehead who instantly fired at the target but Johns was in position to make the requisite save. The ‘keeper denied him again five minutes later when he broke into the box.

With 3 minutes of the scheduled 90 to go Jarra fell awkwardly and after a delay he left the pitch (later confirmed as a shoulder injury that required an ambulance to take him to hospital).

As Cirencester had already introduced their three substitutes they had to play out the remaining time with ten men – this turned out to be 10 minutes – and despite the shortage they still managed to threaten the Highworth goal in the closing minutes.

Full Time:   3-2

This was certainly an entertaining game for the neutral spectator with plenty of goals and the result in doubt until the end.

Both teams played their part with passion and commitment.

 

Attendance:  200                                                       

 

Referee:   Jack Shepherd                                

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

 1.   Luke Merchant
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Louis Spalding
 4.   Michael Pook
 5.   Alexandru Albert
 6.   Baboucarr Jarra                                        16
 7.   Tommy Anderson
 8.   Tommy Ouldridge
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)
10.   Ben Whitehead                                         79
11.   Aidan Bennett                                           10

12.   Ellis Dunton
14.   Adam Connolly                              (Tommy Ouldridge-79mins)
15.   Owen Windsor                               (Tommy Anderson-83mins)
16.   Jordan Morris
17.   Jack Freeman                               (Alan Griffin-73mins) 

 

HIGHWORTH TOWN:

 1.   Connor Johns
 2.   Ryan Stanners
 3.   Ryan Morgan
 4.   Wayne Turk     (C)
 5.   Leon Morrison             
 6.   Chris Taylor
 7.   Toumani Sadibi                                          41
 8.   Sam Morris
 9.   Ashley Edenborough                                  11p
10.   Matty Grabe
11.   Wilf White

12.   Sallum Ferguson   
14.   Tom Cole
15.   Jonah Beer
16.   Sean Wood                                   (Sam Morris-83mins)

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