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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South

 

Thatcham Town  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 travelled to the scene of their FA Trophy defeat and ground out a victory in a game that was a test of their character and determination on a difficult, bumpy pitch. It certainly was not a game for the football purist as there were few flowing moves with the game peppered with free kicks and long balls throughout.

Based on their earlier experience in the FA Trophy at Thatcham the visitors knew they were in for a tough afternoon and so it proved with many a long ball from free kicks, general play or throw-ins being lobbed into the Cirencester penalty area.

In terms of current form there is little to choose between the sides as Thatcham have secured 9 points from their last six games compared to Cirencester’s 8 points.

The Cirencester starting eleven was unchanged for the third successive match and both sides had a player playing against a former club – Babz Jarra (ex Thatcham) and Jon Beeden (former Centurion). Ellis Dunton was also making his 250 appearance for Cirencester.

 

As usual the game started at a brisk pace as the sides sparred for ascendancy and after 6 minutes Cirencester had the ball in the net when ‘keeper Chris Rackley stretched to catch an Alan Griffin back header but he failed to hold the ball and as a result it reached Ben Whitehead who headed it into the net from a couple of feet. However the ‘goal’ was disallowed for ‘offside’ or a minimal nudge on the ‘keeper – not sure which.

A few minutes later the action was at the other end of the pitch as Scott Rees latched onto a ball from Shane Cooper-Clark to shoot towards goal - only to see Louis Spalding make a partial block and Adam Connolly complete the clearance from the goal-line.

 Encouraged Thatcham pressed for the next ten minutes or so with a Shane Cooper-Clark free kick deflected for the first corner kick of the match and George Jeacock failing to control a difficult bouncing ball at the back post enabling Spalding to make the clearance.

The home side opened the scoring on the half hour following a long ball from their left flank as Cooper-Clark headed it over the Cirencester back-line for SCOTT REES to collect in the left channel of the area and as Wieczorek advanced he volleyed it into the top right corner.  1-0.

Just before the goal Cirencester had threatened the home goal as Whitehead crossed from the right corner to Griffin who laid the ball into the path of Jack Freeman but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked then recycled but came to nought.

Six minutes after the goal Whitehead supplied Griffin from the left corner and this time the striker shot wide of the right post from a central position just inside the home box as he turned.  

Five minutes from the scheduled interval Cirencester levelled following a well-worked free kick routine as Babz Jarra drove the kick to the right channel of the penalty area where Ellis Dunton popped up to head into the mix at the front edge of the 6 yard box and after an attempted clearance was collected near the penalty spot by BEN WHITEHEAD he moved left before striking an unstoppable shot into the top left corner.  1-1.  

As the half drew to a close there was still time for Rackley to punch a free kick clear and Connolly to deny Kyle Tooze as he collected a long ball on the edge of the Cirencester penalty area.

Half Time:  1-1

Almost immediately from the re-start Thatcham pressed to win a corner kick that Mike Pook defended at the near post leading to a counter attack as Jordan Morris charged to the left corner and once there he crossed towards the penalty spot – blocked but rebounded back to him for another attempt that was cut out.

Cirencester then worked the ball from the back line to the right flank before switching to the left but progress was halted as Thatcham won a throw-in.

The home side responded with Tooze prominent as he sent a couple of crosses into the Cirencester area from their left flank but both were defended.

As the hour mark approached Cirencester created an opening after a free kick from inside their half was headed on by Aidan Bennett and Griffin before being cleared to Spalding who clipped the ball into the right channel of the Thatcham area as Morris burst forward. As was the case for Jeacock earlier the high bouncing ball made it difficult to control and as a result enabled a defender to get back and clear the danger.

Around the hour mark Thatcham had a couple of chances when Cooper-Clark headed over the bar at the back post following a corner kick from the left, followed by Tooze being denied as he burst diagonally across the box to the edge of the 6 yard box where Connolly blocked his shot with the loose ball collected by Adam Kelly who was denied by Wieczorek as he saved low at his right post.

A couple of minutes later  Wieczorek pushed a toe-poked effort wide of his right post and then he caught a back-header from a long throw but as is often the case following a period of pressure it was their opponents who scored the goal.

As previously mentioned the long ball had dominated proceedings during the game and it was a long throw that led to Cirencester taking the lead as Dunton launched his throw from the right flank to the front post where ALAN GRIFFIN back headed the ball over the ‘keeper who managed to get a hand to it but couldn’t prevent it dropping into the net.  1-2.

The final quarter was more of the same with Kelly having a shot caught by Wieczorek and another blocked although there was a glimpse of some dribbling skill when Dunton and Whitehead combined to release Tommy Anderson to the right corner where he used his quick feet to release Freeman to his left who also displayed some neat footwork as he entered the box but there was insufficient room to make much progress and the ball was lost.

With the clock ticking down a Jack Alexander free kick was sent into the Cirencester penalty area and not for the first time it was cleared by Griffin who had certainly led his team from the from the front.

Full Time:   2-2

Not a game for the football purist but certainly a game of commitment and determination as no quarter was asked or given.

 

Attendance:  153                                

Referee:   Jack Oxenham          

 

THATCHAM TOWN:

1.   Chris Rackley
2.   Michael Miller
3.   Curtis Angell
4.   Jack Alexander
5.   Jon Beeden
6.   Stuart Cattell
7.   Adam Kelly
8.   Scott Rees     (C)                                        30
9.   Shane Cooper-Clark
10.  Kyle Tooze
11.  George Jeacock

12.  Sonnie Low
14.  Tom Melledew                                (Kyle Tooze-78mins)
15.  Jordan Williams                             (Adam Kelly-78mins)
16.  Jack Stanley
17.  James Tennant

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

1.   Mateusz Wieczorek
2.   Ellis Dunton
3.   Louis Spalding
4.   Mike Pook
5.   Baboucarr Jarra
6.   Jack Freeman
7.   Aidan Bennett
8.   Adam Connolly
9.   Alan Griffin     (C)                                      68
10.  Ben Whitehead                                        40
11.  Jordan Morris

12.  Tommy Anderson                            (Jordan Morris-74mins)
14.  James Mortimer-Jones
15.  Will Christopher                           
16.  Scott Rose  (GK)    

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