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Pitching In Southern League 2020/21

Division 1 South

 

Melksham Town  0 – 4  Cirencester Town

Match Report by Dave Pyzer

 

The Centurions were on the march for this mid-week fixture, with Melksham their destination, to face a team that has introduced a number of new faces for the 2020-21 Season and despite being under pressure for much of the match returned with the points.

Following their success at the weekend Cirencester Manager John Brough named an unchanged team. 

On a perfect evening for football and a slick playing surface on a perfect pitch, following the rain just prior to the match, the home side kicked-off to attack down their right flank to the corner where they conceded a free kick to give the initiative to their visitors who worked it down their left flank to cross from the corner but it was cut-out at the near post.

A lively start to the match that improved for the visitors a couple of minutes later when Tommy Anderson made a diagonal burst into the Melksham penalty area to be challenged by a defender and the ‘keeper with the ball breaking loose for BRAD GRAY to collect and sweep into the net from a narrow angle.  0-1.  

Melksham responded to this early setback when Felipe Barcelos created an opening on the left front channel of the Cirencester box and fired towards the far-right post where ‘keeper Dan Lawrence dived to push his effort wide of the post for a corner kick that Ollie Webb headed over.

The home side began to press more regularly with Albert Hopkins and Isaac Pearce often involved as they combined with their respective full backs – Ryan Bole and Will Christopher – who supported and sent crosses into the Ciren box for centre backs Shayne Anson and Ellis Dunton to head out or into the safe hands of Lawrence.

During this intense period of pressure Melksham were awarded a free kick – 25 yards out, right channel – but Barcelos fired wide of the right post. 

As the home side pushed forward they were undone by a long clearance from Anson that enabled JOSH PARSONS to dart behind their advanced back line to collect the ball and proceed to work his way across their penalty area before planting his left footed shot inside the left post from near the penalty spot.  0-2. 

A few minutes after this goal Cirencester lost the services of Gray due to injury to be replaced by Ross Gabriel. 

With the wind temporarily knocked out of the home sails Cirencester worked the ball forward down both flanks to have crosses blocked and a corner kick recycled for Anderson to shoot over the bar. 

As the half entered the last ten minutes Melksham had a strong appeal for handball when Alan Griffin’s strike struck the arm of a Ciren defender but play continued as it appeared none of the officials had seen it.    

With the clock running down Melksham pressed more intently as Griffin’s shot-on-the-turn was caught by Lawrence and other shots and crosses were defended.

Just before the interval Will Christopher delivered a superbly weighted pass down the centre for Michael Perrott to collect and drive into the right channel of the box where he cut left before shooting – Lawrence parried the effort and gathered the rebound.  

Half Time:  0-2

During the interval Josh Parsons joined Brad Gray on the injured list to be replaced by Lee Llewelyn. 

Within a couple of minutes of the re-start Melksham were on the attack as Hopkins fed the ball to the edge of the Ciren box it was cleared to a lurking Perrott who drove it at the goal – Lawrence parried and it was cleared to be recycled to Hopkins who reached the left by-line and his cross was caught by Lawrence. 

After another period of pressure from Melksham when Griffin fired into the arms of a well-positioned Lawrence and the busy Anderson blocked a shot from Hopkins it was the turn of Cirencester to threaten the home goal as Tom Handley crossed from the left corner towards the far post where it was laid off to Anderson who clipped the outside of the right post from just inside the box.  

Shortly afterwards the irrepressible Anderson displayed skill and determination as he drove down the right channel to the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball to Ross Gabriel who fired over the bar.

Around the hour mark Handley launched the ball to the left corner where Gabriel collected and laid it back to Jonny Dennis who moved it into the centre for Llewelyn to send it out to Archie Brennan as he supported down the right flank to cross – blocked.

For the next ten minutes Melksham took over as Hopkins made a cross-field run (left to right) to feed Pearce who cut left into the Ciren box looking for an opening but he was quickly surrounded and the attack thwarted.

As Melksham mounted wave after wave of attacks the Ciren defence was determined not be breached and shortly after the mid-point of the half Ciren countered as the ball was sent from right to left for Dennis to cut inside and pass to Joe Turley, right to Llewelyn who had his shot blocked.

A few minutes later Llewelyn was involved again as he received the ball in the centre circle and quickly sent a superb pass over the home defence for JONNY DENNIS to chase and collect just outside the area. He drove forward into the box and then cut right before curling the ball inside the far-right post.  0-3.  

A similar move as Anderson released Dennis resulted in a cross to the far post where Gabriel fired over from close range. 

Despite the further setback Melksham pressed again as Hopkins, having switched flanks, moved left towards the centre front edge of the Ciren area to shoot – his shot struck the top left corner of the goal-frame and rebounded to be fed back to Hopkins who fired over with his right foot from the right channel of the area. 

With ten minutes remaining Cirencester were awarded a free kick on their left flank that Handley launched towards the far post where ‘keeper Nathan Ball, under pressure from Gabriel, failed to hold and JOSH NELMES was on hand to poke the ball home from close range.  0-4. 

In the remaining minutes Cirencester stood firm to claim the points.

Full Time:   0-4 

It is fair to say Melksham had most of the possession but were unable to break through a well organised and defiant Cirencester defence whilst Cirencester took the chances available to gain a very important victory against one of the sides expected to do well in this season’s competition.

 

Attendance:  302                                            Referee:   David Nicholson       

 

MELKSHAM TOWN:

1.   Nathan Ball
2.   Will Christopher
3.   Ryan Bole
4.   Ollie Webb
5.   Josh Ford     ©
6.   Michael Perrott
7.   Matthew Hurley
8.   Isaac Pearce
9.   Alan Griffin
10.  Felipe Barcelos
11.  Albert Hopkins

12.  Adam Kelly
14.  Luke Ballinger                                (Isaac Pearce-71mins)
15.  Philip Ormrod
16.  Aidan Chainey                                (Alan Griffin-82mins)
17.  Jack Ball                                        (Felipe Barcelos-65mins)                     

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

1.   Dan Lawrence
2.   Archie Brennan
3.   Tom Handley
4.   Josh Nelmes                                               80
5.   Shayne Anson     ©
6.   Ellis Dunton
7.   Tommy Anderson
8.   Joe Turley
9.   Brad Gray                                                   5
10.  Josh Parsons                                              27
11.  John Dennis                                                73

12.  Ross Gabriel                                  (Brad Gray-30mins)     
14.  Nick Hancock
15.  Lee Llewelyn                                  (Josh Parsons-45mins)
16.  Felipe Dias                                                
17.  James Mortimer-Jones

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