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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  4 – 0  Melksham Town

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography

 

Despite a dominant first half performance ‘The Centurions’ only scored one goal to lead at the interval but they added three more without reply after the break to complete a solid 4-0 victory over Melksham Town.   

To set the scene for this first encounter between the sides - Melksham were promoted to the Southern League at the beginning of this season having finished as Runners-Up in the Western League at the end of last season.

Before kick-off Melksham were in 8th place in the league table with 32 points from their 18 games played whilst Cirencester were 5th with 36 points from 20 games so this was a vital match for both sides. 

The ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table also reveals that there is little between them as both teams have amassed 12 points from their last 6 matches but Cirencester have a better goal difference so they were 5th to Melksham’s 9th.

 

Cirencester Manager, Charlie Griffin, named an unchanged starting eleven following the 5-1 victory at Mangotsfield United on New Year’s day.

 

Following their three victories over the Christmas/New Year period Cirencester began very confidently - within the first 3 minutes visiting ‘keeper Alex Shaftoe had punched a corner kick clear and tipped a Ben Whitehead drive onto his cross-bar – as they worked both flanks with flowing moves in search of an early breakthrough.

A Mike Pook header over the visitor’s defence caused some confusion as Tom Warren attempted to head back to his ‘keeper who had advanced and consequently Warren had to chase his own header to clear the danger.  

Cirencester were soon back again to win a couple of successive corner kicks – the second of which was headed over the bar by Alan Griffin - then they worked the left flank for Jack Freeman to shoot – caught by Shaftoe.

The pressure was building and another corner kick from the right was cleared for Pook to collect and return to Freeman who instantly crossed towards the back post where Alex Albert was lurking. Tom Warren won the heading duel and it bobbed about the box before dropping towards the edge of the area where AIDAN BENNETT was waiting to strike a superb half volley with his left peg inside the right post.  1-0.  

As the mid-point was approaching Melksham counter attacked down their left flank for Jon Davies to shoot wide of the right post from the front edge of the Cirencester area and a couple of minutes later Davies sent a free kick from the right flank to the back post where it finished in the back of the net but was disallowed for ‘offside’.

Cirencester reacted by pressing down their left flank to win another corner kick that again was punched clear and recycled into the ‘mix’ to be caught by Shaftoe.

On the half hour mark Davies tried an ambitious 35 yard effort that Mat Wieczorek saved low at his right post and five minutes later the same player struck a free kick towards the top right corner for the home ‘keeper to produce a terrific save to push it over his cross-bar. The result was a couple of corner kicks and a period of pressure from Melksham that enabled Chris Allen to cross towards the right post from the left flank for Neikell Plummer to head goal-wards - Wieczorek parried before catching a follow-up effort.  

Encouraged Melksham pressed again as Plummer attempted to lob Wieczorek from the left channel, 25 yards out, but the ‘keeper stretched to make the catch.

As the half drew to a close both sides threatened without adding to the score-line.

Half Time:  1-0

With the next goal ‘all-important’ Cirencester pressed from the re-start and it was fully five minutes before Melksham got a meaningful touch of the ball as they worked their left flank for Nuno Felix to cross from the corner.

Six minutes later Felix won a corner kick from the left that Wieczorek punched clear for Freeman to collect and release Whitehead down the left channel. As he entered the Melksham area a firm shoulder charge knocked him to the ground and needless to say there were strong shouts for a penalty kick but nothing forthcoming from the Referee.

During the period approaching the mid-point of the half the game became a little ragged as neither side kept the ball for long although Davies crossed into the side-netting from the left by-line and Plummer headed wide of the right post for Melksham but it all changed when a Cirencester throw-in on the right flank was fed to Whitehead who turned and launched it towards the far post where AIDAN BENNETT collected, moved left and struck a ferocious left footed shot that proved too much for Shaftoe to keep out of his net.  2-0.

A few minutes later as Melksham attempted to attack a cross-field pass was intercepted by Bennett and fed to Pook who ‘chipped’ it to the left corner for Whitehead’s resulting shot to be blocked for a corner kick. The kick was punched clear but re-cycled and the subsequent cross put behind, narrowly wide of an ‘own goal’, for another corner kick.

Once again it was punched clear but this time it was re-cycled down the right flank for Tommy Anderson to burst into the penalty area before squaring it towards the area to the right of the right post, 10 yards out, where BEN WHITEHEAD swivelled to sweep it inside the right post with his right foot.  3-0.

During the next few minutes Cirencester pressed for a Bennett cross from the right corner to just evade Griffin as he came in at the near post, followed by a Griffin 30 yard shot that was wide of the right post.

The reply from Melksham was a couple of long range efforts from Davies that were safely caught by Wieczorek.

With five scheduled minutes remaining Pook clipped a clever reverse pass to the left corner for Jordan Morris to collect and cross – leading to a corner kick that Pook delivered to the back post where Ellis Dunton headed goal-wards. It was cleared off the line and out to be recovered and fed to Bennett who slipped it through to the right channel of the Melksham area as JORDAN MORRIS darted forward to collect and slip a delicate right footed effort past the advancing Shaftoe with enough power to cross the line.  4-0.

In the closing minutes of the game Plummer volleyed wide of the right post for Melksham from the edge of the area.

Full Time:   4-0

Another solid victory for the home side with a number of fine performances as everyone played their part.

 

Attendance:  173                                                       

Referee:   Steve Durnall                                  

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

 1.   Mat Wieczorek
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Louis Spalding
 4.   Michael Pook
 5.   Alexandru Albert
 6.   Ellis Dunton
 7.   Tommy Anderson
 8.   Jack Freeman
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C)
10.   Ben Whitehead                                         72
11.   Aidan Bennett                                           16, 66

12.   Jordan Morris                               (Ben Whitehead-75mins)  86
14.   Tommy Ouldridge                          (Jack Freeman-80mins)
15.   James Mortimer-Jones                 (Alan Griffin-83mins)
16.   Scott Rose 

 

MELKSHAM TOWN:

 1.   Alex Shaftoe
 2.   Simon Gilbert
 3.   Nuno Felix
 4.   Chris Allen
 5.   Warren Maidment     (C)   
 6.   Tom Warren
 7.   Reece Rusher
 8.   Rob Hobbs
 9.   Neikell Plummer
10.   Jon Davies
11.   Enock Ekongo

12.   Luke Ballinger
14.   Jake Baker                                    (Simon Gilbert-60mins)
15.   Kent Kauppinen

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