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Pitching In Southern League 2020/21

Division 1 South


Cirencester Town  3 – 0  Willand Rovers

Click photo to view more images supplied by Graham Hill


Match Report by Dave Pyzer


The Centurions returned to The Corinium Stadium, following their hard-fought victory at Frome, to face another side on a good run of form in Willand Rovers and once again they were severely tested but after a fast and furious encounter they were victorious and as a result move to the top of the table.  

The visitors from Devon were in 5th place in the league and 4th place in the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ tables prior to the match whilst Cirencester were 2nd and 1st respectively so another tough match was anticipated.

Manager John Brough kept faith with the team that had performed with determination at Frome as he named the same starting eleven.


The visitors kicked-off playing towards The Shed end of the ground on a cold, damp evening and almost immediately Cirencester had won the ball to attack to the right corner where they too lost the ball enabling Willand to counter down their left flank for a very brisk start to the match that continued throughout.

A couple of minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick as they worked the ball down the left flank and this was delivered into the visitor’s penalty area where Joe Shepherd headed over the bar.

Willand responded by working the ball to their right corner but the resulting cross went behind the goal. 

Cirencester opened the scoring after seven minutes as the ball was launched down their left channel leading to a race as LEVI IRVING and defenders chased after it and the young striker displayed tremendous vision and composure to lob the advancing ‘keeper Mike Searle as he was challenged just inside the area with the ball entering the net inside the right post.  1-0.

Spurred on by the early goal Cirencester attacked down their left flank as Jordan Morris embarked on a couple of runs with one resulting in a shot that required a low save from Searle at his right post.

After their early setback the visitors began to settle as they mounted attacks down their left flank in particular, with Will Richards and Jack Rice prominent, to test the home defence and around the mid-point of the half the latter cut right from the left corner to work his way along the front edge of the home box before firing over the top left corner of the goal.

By now the game was end-to-end with neither side retaining the ball for long and as the half hour mark approached Cirencester sent a free kick into the visitor’s box where Nick Hancock headed the clearance header back into the mix and over Mike Searle but before a closing Aidan Bennett could get to it Searle claimed the ball.

Shortly afterwards Willand’s Ben Griffith carried the ball to the left by-line where he was confronted by Shayne Anson and seeing his way blocked he laid it off to Rice, right to Alfie Mouldon, back to Griffith who crossed into the box – Hancock headed out for a corner kick that Shepherd headed clear. 

Griffith’s was soon back again as he collected a clearance near half-way to charge down the left channel to the home penalty area where his shot was parried by ‘keeper Alex Harris for a corner kick.

As the interval loomed Cirencester attacked down their right flank as Bennett flicked the ball over his shoulder for Jonny Dennis to collect and drive down the flank. As he neared the corner he cut back and returned the ball to Bennett, near the front edge of the Willand box – right of centre, and his strike was partially blocked to pass wide of the right post. 

Almost immediately Irving latched onto a loose ball, 25 yards out, and fired at the target but his effort was caught by Searle. 

Once again Willand responded to work the ball from left to right, via several players, leading to a firm, low strike from Mouldon that was narrowly wide of the right post.

The final goalmouth action of the half saw Irving chase a ball down the right channel to collect and carry forward to a position just wide of the right front corner of the 6-yard box where he struck his left footed shot past the far-left post.

Half Time:  1-0

The first half had been lively and the second stated in the same fashion as Tom Handley combined with Bennett to cross the ball into the visitor’s box where Shepherd attempted an ambitious overhead kick that was defended and it took a few minutes for Willand to respond as they worked the ball down their left channel but Rice over-ran the ball in the corner.

On the hour mark Willand sent a cross-field pass, from left to right, to Mouldon who darted down the side edge of the home box to the by-line where he squared the ball towards the penalty spot and the Cirencester defence was tested as they blocked two efforts before Joe Turley cleared the danger.  

As is often the case when a team has survived a period of pressure they counter to score and this was the case as almost immediately they were awarded a free kick ten yards inside their half that Handley delivered to the left channel front edge of the Willand box where JOE SHEPHERD battled to keep the ball before moving right and smashing it goal-wards.  En-route it was diverted wide of Searle but inside the left post.  2-0.   

Within a minute Cirencester were awarded a free kick in the left corner that Turley delivered to the far post for Ellis Dunotn to head down for his centre back colleague Anson to fire wide of the far left post as he turned.

A few minutes later Mouldon collected a cross from the left by-line near the right channel front edge of the Ciren box and instantly struck a low left footed shot that was destined for the bottom corner near the right post until home custodian Alex Harris intervened to save.

Just after the mid-point of the half the home support thought there was a strong claim for a penalty kick as Tommy Anderson burst into the visitor’s box where a charging ‘keeper nudged him but he managed to stay on his feet and appeals were rejected by the Referee.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes Willand lost the ball as they worked their left channel and Anderson latched onto it to send a terrific pass down the channel and behind the Willand defence for JOSH PARSONS to collect and burst forward, rounding the ‘keeper he was forced wide of the left post but he remained composed to tuck it into the net from a very narrow angle.  3-0.

Despite the score-line Willand continued to press forward at every opportunity and Griffith nearly reduced the deficit as he ran into the right channel of the home area to shoot past Harris towards the far-left post but the ball struck the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of the ‘keeper. 

A minute later the ball was cleared up to Parsons who ‘chested’ it into the path of a supporting Shepherd and he struck a fierce shot from 35 yards, right channel, that flew over the top left corner of the Willand goal.

As the game was drawing to a close there was still time for Handley to charge forward, evade a couple of challenges and shoot – deflected for a corner kick that reached Shepherd, near the penalty spot, who produced a powerful header that Searle blocked with the ball rebounding to Anson who struck a fierce shot from wide of the left post – amazingly Searle blocked again for another corner kick that was defended.

Ciren were finishing strongly and another multi-pass move released Parsons to the right by-line but his cross was gathered by Searle at the second attempt. 

In ‘added-time’ Irving reached the left by-line and squared the ball towards Parsons but as he darted forward to collect he was up-ended and once again the Referee rejected calls for a Penalty Kick. 

The final threat on goal saw Parsons deliver a pass behind the Willand defence for Irving to collect but as he entered the penalty area he over-ran the ball enabling Searle to block and a defender to clear.

Full Time:   3-0 

A match full of endeavour and commitment as both sides played quick, passing football on the slick surface. 

A solid team performance from Cirencester that was rewarded with the three points against a lively Willand side that competed until the final whistle.


Attendance:  220                                            Referee:   Andrew Genders    



1.   Alex Harris
2.   Tom Handley
3.   Jordan Morris
4.   Joe Turley
5.   Shayne Anson
6.   Ellis Dunton
7.   Nick Hancock     ©
8.   Joe Shepherd                                                     62
9.   Levi Irving                                                            7                                                        
10.  Aidan Bennett
11.  John Dennis

12.  Ross Gabriel         
14.  Michael Pook                                              (Nick Hancock-68mins)
15.  Tommy Anderson                                       (Jonny Dennis-60mins)
16.  Josh Nelmes                                                                     
17.  Josh Parsons                                              (Aidan Bennett-57mins)  75



1.   Mike Searle
2.   Josh Searle     ©
3.   William Richards
4.   Cormac Pike
5.   Ryan Guppy
6.   Glenn Gould
7.   Alfie Mouldon
8.   Callum Eastwood
9.   Ben Griffith
10.  Jack Rice
11.  Mani Skett

12.  Frank Rosenwald                                        (Mani Skett-60mins)
14.  Bailey Kempster                                         (Alfie Mouldon-72mins)
15.  Douglas Camilo
16.  David Steele

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