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Pre-Season 2020-21

Friendly

Cirencester Town   2 – 0   North Leigh

Match Report by Dave Pyzer


In perfect conditions for football Cirencester welcomed Manager John Brough’s former Club North Leigh of the Southern League – Central Division to The Corinium Stadium for their final Pre-Season Friendly match in preparation for the 2020-21 Season.

 

Cirencester kicked off, playing towards The Arena end of the ground, and immediately attacked down their right flank and whilst the initial cross from the right corner was too deep it was soon recovered and re-cycled to Nick Hancock, just inside the home half – right flank, who sent it down their right channel into the visitors penalty area where JONNY DENNIS intercepted a pass before tucking his shot inside the right post to open the scoring in the fourth minute.  1-0.  

Encouraged by the early success Cirencester continued to press as Levi Irving headed on to Josh Parsons and he in turn headed down to Tommy Anderson who slipped the ball left to a charging Irving – inside to Parsons as he advanced down the left channel of the visitors box where ‘keeper Adam North quickly closed him down to block his shot.

North Leigh responded to the early goal as they attacked down their right flank to be awarded a corner kick and free kick followed by another cross from the right corner that Hancock did well to head away from inside his 6-yard box whilst under pressure.

Shortly afterwards Tom Handley embarked on a run from left back into the visitors half before cutting right to shoot from 30 yards but his effort was sliced wide of the far right post.

Almost immediately Cirencester were back again as Joe Turley fed the ball to Irving who exchanged passes with Parsons as he worked his way down the left flank but his resulting cross was cut out.

Not to be left out, the next action for the home side came down their right flank as Mike Pook switched play to Hancock who played the ball into the corner where Dennis chased and crossed at pace but out of play.

Having ‘weathered the storm’ North Leigh began to work the ball forward with neat passing around the mid-point of the half but the Cirencester defence stood firm to repel their advances.

As the half-hour mark approached Handley delivered a free kick from the left flank, 40 yards out, to the far right corner and as The Millers cleared the danger it led to a throw-in for Cirencester. Mike Pook threw to Dennis then exchanged passes with the winger as Dennis darted to the by-line to clip the ball to the far post where the diminutive JOSH PARSONS rose to head over ‘keeper North, as he turned, for the ball to drop inside the right post.  2-0.

With the ‘bit between their teeth’ Cirencester were closing down quickly to deny their visitors any space whilst working the ball forward with sharp ‘pass-and-move’ interplay to reach the edge of their opponent’s penalty area where progress was either denied or wasted with poor finishing.

As the half reached the final five minutes a pass down the visitors left channel was collected by John Mills and he took the ball to the edge of the home box before cutting right to shoot but it struck his team-mate as he made a diversionary run across the box and a free kick was awarded for ‘offside’.

As the interval approached Pook headed a Dennis cross narrowly over at the near post, a move involving Pook, Parsons and Irving resulted in a Parsons shot that required a low save from North at his left post, and an exchange between Parsons and Dennis resulted in the latter firing over.

Half Time:  2-0

Cirencester started as they had left off before the break with Turley intercepting a pass down the centre, 30 yards out, before taking a couple of steps forward to unleash a firm strike that North caught.

A minute later the home side worked the ball in their left corner for Handley to cross into the visitor’s box and the resulting clearance dropped to Pook, right to Parsons who flicked the ball on to Turley who instantly volleyed wide of the left post from the centre front edge of the area.

At this stage Cirencester were moving the ball about with purpose – probing and switching flanks as Dennis burst into the visitor’s box, Handley’s cross from the left and Hancock’s cross from the right by-line were defended.

In reply North Leigh’s Scott Isherwood sent a long diagonal pass from half-way, right flank, to the left channel of the home penalty area where Mills fired over the bar.

Manager John Brough had seen enough and ten minutes after the break he made five substitutions at once and it took some of the impetus out of the home side for a few minutes as they settled into the pace of the game.

On the hour a superb pass down the left channel found Mills as he broke forward into the home box to collect but ‘keeper Alex Harris was quickly off his line to block.

Another 30-yard pass from Luke Carnell found Isherwood advancing down the right flank but his progress was halted as he was surrounded.

North Leigh were pressing and probing and when George Nash shot it was blocked and a scramble resulted until Josh Nelmes headed the ball high into the air for Harris to catch on the edge of his 6-yard box.

During these advances from The Millers Cirencester also created an opening as Harris sent a free kick forward for Brad Gray (in his first appearance since lockdown) to head to Irving who in turn headed down, near the centre front edge of the visitor’s box, for Parsons to shoot over the bar.

The Millers right back, Scott Isherwood, was popping up regularly this half crossing the ball from his flank into the home box but as the final quarter hour arrived the action was in the North leigh box as a period of ‘head tennis’ ensued before the ball was eventually cleared.

During this period Gray was particularly busy leading the line as he fired wide of the left post, tested ‘keeper North with a fierce free kick that looked destined for the top right corner until North intervened, and fired over as he turned sharply near the left channel front edge of The Millers area.  

As the game was drawing to a close a North Leigh free kick was delivered by Harry Grant, right flank 35 yards out, to Adam Learoyd near the far post and when he headed the ball down towards the penalty spot it was hastily cleared by Lee Llewellyn.

Full Time:   2-0

Another solid performance from the home side against a team that certainly looked capable and dangerous when they worked the ball forward but Cirencester worked hard all over the pitch to stifle them.

 

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

Alex Harris, Nick Hancock, Tom Handley, Mike Pook, Josh Nelmes, Ellis Dunton, Tommy Anderson, Joe Turley, Levi Irving, Josh Parsons, Jonny Dennis, Roger James, Ross Gabriel, Aidan Bennett, Archie Brennan, Lee Llewelyn, Ben Hands, Brad Gray, Jack Sparks, Dan Lawrence (GK).

 

NORTH LEIGH:

Adam North, Scott Isherwood, Sam McNeil, Mike Atkinson, Luke Carnell, Adam Learoyd, Goerge Nash, Callum McNish, George Seacole, John Mills, Morgan Williams, Harry Grant, Ben Brown, Andy Gunn, Eddie Odhiambo, Elliott Heritage.

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