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G.F.A. Senior Challenge Cup 2019/20

Semi Final


Cirencester Town  2 – 3  Forest Green Rovers U23’s

Match Report by Dave Pyzer


The spectators who braved the bitterly cold evening witnessed a fast-paced cup-tie that saw the hosts reduce the deficit twice before losing by the odd goal in five to a mixture of young and experienced Rovers.  


The visitors kicked off playing towards The Shed end of the ground and were quickly put under pressure by their hosts who won the ball to attack down their left flank but this was defended for a quick counter attack from Rovers and this proved to be typical of the match throughout as both sides attacked with pace on the slick 4G surface to produce an exciting ‘end-to-end’ match. 

The opening ten minutes were very much attack and counter attack as the sides worked the ball forward with fluid passing to reach the edge of their opponents penalty area but without really testing either ‘keeper but this changed after quarter of an hour when Rovers Trialist ‘A’ collected the ball in the left channel of the home penalty area but Will Wellon quickly closed him down to divert his cross for a corner kick. Elliot Frear delivered the kick from the left to the far post where TRIALIST ‘B’ managed to smash it into the roof of the net from a narrow angle, inside the 6-yard box, despite being surrounded by several opponents.  0-1

Shortly afterwards Cirencester’s Lewis Thompson robbed Matt Mills of the ball 20 yards out, right channel, and moved into the Rovers box for a 1v1 with ‘keeper Conrad Logan but his shot was blocked by the ‘keeper and a follow-up by Tommy Anderson was also blocked and almost immediately in this frenetic match the action was at the other end as Matt Stevens received the ball just inside the left channel of the home area where he was quickly closed down for his shot to be diverted onto the bar.

Whilst both sides were seeing plenty of the ball and producing neat moves that resulted in shots wide of the target or being blocked it was the visitors that looked more dangerous at this stage and another quick counter down their right flank reached Vaughn Covil who took it to the corner before crossing towards the front edge of the 6-yard box where MATT STEVENS first shot was parried by ‘keeper Lewis Clayton but rebounded back to him and he completed the task with a ‘tap-in’ from a couple of yards.  0-2.

Moments later Frear sent a ‘cross-cum-shot’ past the far right post and Cirencester responded as Anderson exchanged passes with Thompson and John Dennis as he worked his way along the front edge of the Rovers box and into the right channel but his resulting shot was blocked by Mills. 

This proved to be the last action for the influential Dennis as he limped off with what looked to be an ankle injury. 

During the final minutes of the half Frear drove a corner kick through the area in front of the 6-yard box, Covil had a shot saved and Thompson intercepted a ‘back-pass’. 

Half Time:  0-2

The second half started as the first had finished when Cirencester worked the ball down their right flank as Nick Hancock fed Thompson who slipped it to Anderson leading to a throw-in and counter from Rovers who moved the ball across the pitch before being awarded a free kick 25 yards out. Taylor Allen’s kick was deflected for a corner kick that the home side defended.

Six minutes into the half Cirencester again worked their right flank as Anderson reached the right corner to cross towards the front edge of the 6-yard box where a fast arriving LEVI IRVING skilfully guided his left footed volley inside the right post to reduce the arrears.  1-2

The visitors responded immediately to take the ball to the left channel of the home area for a shot to be blocked and diverted towards the corner where the hard-working Anderson and Hancock combined to clear the danger near their by-line. 

Play continued in this ‘end-to-end’ fashion – Covil feeding Allen who fired over,  Udoka Godwin-Malife embarking on a 40 yard run down the centre, Trialist ‘A’ sending a low cross into the box whilst Cirencester responded with corner kicks and free kicks and as the mid-point approached Thompson played the ball forward to Ross Gabriel who headed-on but it was partially blocked and as he battled to win it back it broke to Anderson as he burst into the right channel of the box for a 1v1 with Logan but the ‘keeper was quickly out to block his shot. 

Cirencester were pressing more frequently as Irving headed-on towards the front edge of the visitor’s box as Gabriel closed, a free kick was headed out near the penalty spot and then Irving intercepted Logan’s kick leading to a series of blocked shots from Anderson, Thompson and Gabriel and another free kick. This time it was sent to the back post where Mike Pook played it back into the mix for Thompson to shoot – right wing corner and throw-in to Cirencester but as it was played back to the half way line in preparation for another attack the ball was lost and Rovers quickly attacked in numbers to reach the home box where the ball was played back to VAUGHN COVIL near the penalty spot and he calmly stroked it inside the right post to give his side a two-goal cushion again.  1-3

The home side were not done however and soon it was the turn of the left flank to press as Will Tunnicliff combined with Irving who fired over from just inside the box.

A minute later Tunnicliff was back to the left corner where his cross was deflected for a corner kick that led to one from the other side and a cross from Pook to the front edge of the 6-yard box where Irving’s header was brilliantly pushed wide by Logan.

The left flank combination of Tunnicliff and Irving advanced to win another corner kick and this time Anderson sent it towards the near post where Irving flicked it on for LEWIS THOMPSON to complete the job as he darted forward to produce a glancing header that finished inside the far right post.  2-3

As the game entered the final five scheduled minutes Tommy Ouldridge switched play to Hancock on the right who saw his cross deflected into the air - looping towards the penalty spot where Gabriel headed downwards towards the bottom right post – Logan got down to block with the ball rebounding, Gabriel followed up but again Logan blocked.   

As the game was drawing to a close Cirencester pressed forward in search of an equaliser and this provided opportunities for Archie Thayer and Harvey Bunker but Rovers had done enough to secure victory and a place in the final.

Full Time:   2-3 

Another entertaining cup-tie of quick, fluid football that was a credit to the stamina of both sides.

Cirencester certainly pushed their illustrious visitors, especially in the second half, but it was not to be and we wish Forest Green Rovers good fortune in the final.



Attendance:  ??                                   

Referee:   Jack Clench  



1.   Lewis Clayton
2.   Nick Hancock
3.   Will Tunnicliff
4.   Mike Pook     (C)
5.   Sam Farr
6.   Will Wellon
7.   John Dennis
8.   Tommy Ouldridge
9.   Levi Irving                                                  51       
10.  Lewis Thompson                                       77
11.  Tommy Anderson

12.  Ross Gabriel                                  (John Dennis-38mins)                          
14.  Max Lloyd             
15.  Malachi Lamie-Cotter
16.  Josh Parsons
17.  Harry Rule


26.   Conrad Logan
22.   Udoka Godwin-Malife
 5.    Matt Mills     (C)
41.   Vaughn Covil                                             71
45.   Harvey Bunker
23.   Elliot Frear
10.   Matt Stevens                                            32
12.  Taylor Allen
 4.   Trialist ‘A’
 8.   Trialist ‘B’                                                   16
36.  Isiah Jones

43.  Luc Rees
47.  Daniel Jones
32.  Archie Thayer                                 (Vaughn Covil-77mins)
35.  Daniel Ogunleye                             (Matt Stevens-71mins)
40.  Alessandro Pierpooint                    (Udoka Godwin-Malife-65mins)              

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