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Pitching In Southern League 2020/21

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  2 – 0  Thatcham Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

 

Following their exciting FA Trophy exploits of the week-end Cirencester returned to league action with a much-changed Thatcham Town their first league visitors of the season. Since the premature end to last season ‘The Kingfishers’ Management Team and many of its players have departed and new Manager Jamie Leacock is in the process of re-building the team.

In the opening games the Cirencester squad has been decimated by injuries with at least five unavailable for this match and two others carrying injuries.

 

After the strong winds of Saturday this mid-week fixture was played in calm conditions – resulting in a fast and furious affair with no-one allowed to settle on the ball for any length of time without being subjected to a challenge.

Whilst it was the visitors who kicked off, playing towards The Shed end of the ground, it was Cirencester that started quickly against the very young Thatcham side as they countered down their left flank to win a corner kick that Ross Gabriel headed over the bar.

Thatcham responded to the early pressure as Conor Lynch collected a clearance kick to produce a strong run down their left channel followed by a shot that passed wide of the far post when he reached the edge of the home area. 

A feature of the first quarter was that of ‘keeper Dan Lawrence launching the ball to the corners to put the visitors under pressure - with the left flank in particular benefitting as Jordan Morris and Levi Irving had by-line crosses blocked. 

After another period of pressure, this time on the Cirencester right flank, the ball was cleared to be recycled down the left flank and then back to the right flank to be crossed to the far post where Gabriel headed wide of the right post. 

Such was the intensity and pace of the game at this point the ball seemed like a ‘hot potato’ as neither side kept hold of it for long as challenges were swiftly made and the next goal threat came about after Irving latched onto a loose pass and carried it to the by-line to win a corner kick – first from the left then the right – that resulted in Josh Nelmes (playing in a central midfield role) firing over from 10 yards. 

A minute later Gabriel headed the ball on for Jonny Dennis to collect and carry to the centre front edge of the Thatcham box where he twisted and turned to get past two defenders before shooting – saved by ‘keeper George Legg. 

On the half hour Thatcham were awarded a free kick on their right flank, near half-way, and when it was delivered into the home box Lawrence punched it away but it was recovered and fed back in for Nelmes to head clear. 

Shortly afterwards Thatcham mounted an attack to their right corner as Lamar Koroma fed Harvey Harry who displayed some neat footwork to create room for a cross that was blocked, rebounding to George Smith who instantly shot – deflected for a corner kick that was defended.     

The same player drove a free kick into the arms of Lawrence a few minutes later. 

As the half was drawing to a close Morris sent a free kick from the left flank towards the penalty spot where it was headed on by Archie Brennan to reach Nelmes who saw his shot blocked by the legs of ‘keeper Legg.   

Half Time:  0-0

Immediately from the re-start Cirencester mounted an attack as Dennis delivered a pass from the left touchline, 40 yards out, towards the far post where Brennan was bursting forward but Legg just reached the ball first. 

It was then the turn of Tom Handley to send the ball down the right flank to Gabriel, right channel – 35 yards out, who headed it into the path of Dennis as he darted forward but former Centurion Andy Gunn got there first to clear to for a counter attack that took Harry down their right flank before crossing into the home box where Joe Turley dealt with the threat.    

It had been a hectic opening five minutes and at this point Lee Llewelyn produced some neat footwork in the right corner before laying it off to Nelmes and when his cross was headed out it was recycled to Handley who worked very hard to retain the ball in the right corner before delivering a low cross towards the near post where ARCHIE BRENNAN arrived to flick it past the ‘keeper.  1-0.   

Moments later Handley was involved again as he cut back from the right corner to deliver a left footed cross to the area in front of the penalty spot where Dennis volleyed against the right post.

Cirencester were now providing flowing football with multiple-pass moves as they worked forward one of which led to a free kick, right channel- 40 yards out, that Handley delivered towards the left post where JOSH NELMES arrived to head inside the far right post.  2-0. 

Despite being two goals down Thatcham were still dangerous, breaking forward at every opportunity, and a couple of minutes after the second goal a break to the left corner resulted in corner kicks from the left and the right, the latter one reached Smith at the back post but his header back into the mix was cleared.

At the mid-point of the half another multi-pass move resulted in a corner kick from the right and this time Nelmes header was blocked on the goal-line before being cleared.

Thatcham countered as Alexandre Fragata collected a loose ball to dart down the left channel before shooting wide of the left post. 

During the next five minutes Thatcham made a couple of counter attacks but the home defence stood firm and worked the ball forward to initiate pressure on the visitors back line.

With five scheduled minutes remaining Handley delivered a superb pass from the left flank, having switched flanks following the departure of Jordan Morris, to the far right post where Nick Hancock volleyed over the bar from close range.  

In the final minutes of the match there was still time for Nelmes to head a free kick wide of the left post, Dennis to draw a finger-tip save from Legg for a shot destined for the top right corner (after some terrific approach play) and Llewelyn to also see his volley pushed over the bar after yet more flowing football in the build-up.

Full Time:   2-0

A dominant performance from The Centurions against very game opponents with plenty of flowing football on display for the home supporters during the second period.

  

Attendance:  96                                              Referee:   Andy Ellis    

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

1.   Dan Lawrence
2.   Tom Handley
3.   Jordan Morris
4.   Josh Nelmes                                                           58
5.   Shayne Anson     ©
6.   Ellis Dunton
7.   Archie Brennan                                                       51
8.   Joe Turley
9.   Ross Gabriel
10.  Levi Irving
11.  John Dennis

12.  Lee Llewelyn                                              (Levi Irving-41mins)     
14.  James Mortimer-Jones
15.  Nick Hancock                                             (Jordan Morris-60mins)
16.  Michael Pook                                             
17.  Scot Rose

 

THATCHAM TOWN: 

1.   George Legg
2.   Clive Gwavava
3.   Kallum Thomas
4.   Lamar Koroma
5.   Michael Miller     ©
6.   Andrew Gunn
7.   Matthew Newbrook
8.   George Smith
9.   Conor Lynch
10.  Jamal Branker
11.  Harvey Harry 

12.  Ousman Darboe
14.  Alexandre Fragata                                     (Matthew Newbrook-60mins)
15.  Jordan Alves                                              (Harvey Harry-60mins)
16.  Kieran Jordan                                            (Jamal Branker-89mins)
17.  William Frank        

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