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The Emirates FA Cup 2019/20

First Round Qualifying


Cirencester Town  1 – 0  Gosport Borough

Click   photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Courtesy of Steve Rolfe Photography


Match Report by Dave Pyzer


LEVI IRVING scored his first senior goal for Cirencester three minutes into ‘added-time’, against Southern League Premier Division opponents Gosport Borough, and seconds later the final whistle blew to send the home side through to the next round of The Emirates FA Cup.


The mid-week fixture at Thatcham Town had resulted in some injuries so Manager Charlie Griffin brought Adam Connolly and former player Owen Windsor (on a month’s loan from West Bromwich Albion) into the starting eleven to replace Will Wellon and Josh Parsons (likely to be out for 3-4 weeks with an ankle injury).   


In perfect conditions for football Gosport Borough kicked off and almost immediately sent a cross from their left flank into the penalty area at The Shed end of The Corinium Stadium that was easily dealt with leading to a counter attack down the right flank as Will Christopher supplied Alan Griffin near the front edge of the visitors box but this too was defended.

Cirencester were soon back again as they started positively with Jack Freeman slipping the ball behind the left back for Oliver Artwell to chase, collect and deliver a cross from the by-line that was just too high for an incoming Owen Windsor but resulted in a corner kick from the left flank.  Visiting ‘keeper Patrick O’Flaherty punched the kick clear but it was recycled for John Dennis to shoot – blocked for another corner kick from the left. Mike Pook’s second kick sailed over the ‘keeper to strike the back post leading to a corner kick from the right which again O’Flaherty punched clear.

With 8 minutes on the clock Gosport had their first corner kick when a Rory Williams shot from 30 yards was deflected wide of the target by Shayne Anson but when it was delivered into the home box the threat ended with a free kick to Cirencester.

The home side really had the bit between their teeth and a couple of minutes later Pook sent a free kick from the right flank to the far post where Anson leapt high to head down to Griffin, left of the penalty spot, who had his shot blocked and cleared. 

Back came Cirencester as they applied more pressure on the visitors backline resulting in further free kicks -  one of which from Freeman looked destined for the top left corner until O’Flaherty pushed it wide for a corner kick.

At this stage Cirencester were not letting Gosport into the game and it was 17 minutes before Matt Patterson tested ‘keeper Lewis Clayton with a well struck shot from the edge of the box following a counter attack down their right flank.

By the mid-point of the half both sides had replaced a player due to injury and shortly afterwards Gosport started to retain the ball better and when a Charlie Kennedy cross into the box was headed clear by Anson it was collected by Josh Huggins and fed to Joe Lea on the right touchline who crossed towards the box – intercepted en route.

Cirencester responded to win a series of corner kicks and Griffin heading over the bar.

Just after the half hour mark Cirencester mounted another swift attack as Windsor broke down the centre but Ryan Woodford ‘took one for the team’ as he brought him down and was duly awarded a Yellow Card.

As the half was drawing to a close there were signs that Gosport were beginning to settle as they were keeping the ball for longer even though Cirencester were still the more threatening.

Half Time:  0-0

Almost immediately from the re-start Gosport sent a cross to the left channel of the home penalty area where Anson blocked for Christopher to chase and drive through three ‘would-be’ challenges as he galloped down the right touchline and into the Gosport half where he was brought to an abrupt halt – earning a ticking off for the offender and a free kick to Cirencester.

The visitors then created probably their best chance of the match so far as Lea crossed from the right flank to the far post where George Barker chose to head back towards a team-mate rather than at the goal enabling Cirencester to scramble the ball clear.

Cirencester immediately responded as Christopher combined with Windsor down the right flank for the latter to have two shots at goal blocked. They then tried the left flank as Will Tunnicliff played the ball down the line to Dennis, inside to Freeman, down the left channel to Windsor and out to Dennis on the burst to the left side edge of the Gosport box resulting in a free kick that posed no danger.

By the hour mark the game was becoming much more even as Gosport began to press more often but at the mid-point Cirencester nearly opened the scoring following another attack down their right flank as Christopher supplied Artwell who then exchanged passes with Griffin before driving to the right by-line to cross towards the front edge of the 6 yard box as Windsor arrived. The young striker had checked his initial run and as a result had to stretch for the incoming cross and his contact passed narrowly wide of the left post.

A few minutes later Griffin slipped the ball through to Windsor near the right channel front edge of the Gosport area who wasted no time in shooting – pushed wide by O’Flaherty for a corner kick that reached Griffin at the back post – headed back into the mix, cleared to Pook who sent it back out to the right corner for Freeman to cross into the box again. Throw-in to Cirencester in the right corner, cleared to Pook who headed it back into the box – defended for a counter attack from Gosport.

As Cirencester pushed forward it was enabling Gosport to come more into the game and as a result it was becoming ‘end-to-end’ with the visitors countering quickly as Patterson exchanged passes with Barker before drawing a low save from Clayton as he dived full length to his right.

A few minutes later Clayton dived to his left to keep out a Liam Robinson free kick. 

As the game entered the final ten scheduled minutes Gosport were increasing the pressure on Cirencester and looking the more likely victors as Woodford headed into the waiting hands of Clayton, Patterson had two efforts saved by Clayton, fired another wide, and Barker had one tipped over the bar.

Three minutes into ‘added-time’ Clayton punted the ball down the centre where it was headed on for LEVI IRVING to collect, exchange passes with Freeman as he ran on to collect the return in the left channel of the Gosport penalty area. Once there he struck his left footed shot towards the target and a covering defender managed to get a partial block on it which deflected it over another defender to trickle towards the goal-line with home support willing it over the line. In what seemed an age it eventually entered the net inside the far right post to give the young striker his first senior goal for the team and what an important one.  1-0.

Seconds after the re-start the final whistle blew – Cirencester were through to the next round.

Full Time:   1-0

Another terrific game that ‘ebbed and flowed’ and had an exciting finish.


Attendance:  138                                


Referee:   Craig Scriven            



 1.   Lewis Clayton
 2.   Will Christopher
 3.   Will Tunnicliff
 4.   Mike Pook
 5.   Shayne Anson
 6.   Adam Connolly
 7.   John Dennis
 8.   Jack Freeman
 9.   Alan Griffin     (C) 
10.  Owen Windsor
11.  Oliver Artwell 

12.  Tommy Ouldridge                          
14.  Jordan Morris                   
15.  Levi Irving                                      (Oliver Artwell-85mins) 90+3
16.  James Mortimer-Jones
17.  Aidan Bennett                                (John Dennis-63mins)
18.  Sam Ayres   (GK)
19.  Will Wellon                                    (Adam Connolly-22mins)



 1.   Patrick O’Flaherty
 2.   Joe Lea
 5.   Ryan Woodford     (C)
 6.   Sam Roberts
 7.   Liam Robinson
 9.   Matt Patterson
11.  George Barker
14.  Matt Partridge
15.  Charlie Kennedy
19.  Rory Williams
20.  Richie Whittingham

 3.  Alex Lafleur                                    (Rory Williams-88mins)
10.  Dave Jerrard                                 (Liam Robinson-88mins)
12.  Pat Suraci
13.  Lewis Watch
16.  Callum Chugg
18.  Josh Huggins                                 (Richie Whittingham-19mins)

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