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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  1 - 0  Sholing FC

 

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

‘The Centurions’ returned to league action after a ten-day break with a mid-week fixture against ‘The Boatmen’ of table topping Sholing FC and in absolutely horrendous weather conditions a tense match took place, between two of the four unbeaten sides in the division, with both sides determined not to concede. 


Cirencester opened with the same starting eleven that took to the pitch against Hamworthy United and were able to add Aidan Bennett to the bench following his recovery from injury.

 

The home side kicked-off playing towards The Arena end of the ground and within two minutes an exchange of passes between Joe Shepherd and Shayne Anson, as they worked their way down the right flank, resulted in a corner kick that eventually reached Ben Whitehead who fired over the bar from 10 yards.

Almost immediately Jake Cope intercepted near the centre front edge of the home box to advance and slip the ball past a closing Alex Harris but it struck the base of the right post and a recovering Anson cleared the danger.

A minute later Bradley Targett embarked on a strong run down their left flank to square the ball to Dan Mason, lurking on the edge of the home box, and his shot fizzed past the left post.

A positive start from the visitors but not to be outdone Cirencester responded as Josh Parsons reached the left by-line to pull the ball back to a supporting Shepherd who saw his shot from the edge of the Sholing area blocked by a defender and rebound into the grateful arms of custodian Ryan Gosney.

All this action in the first ten minutes suggested a competitive match from two in-form teams to the spectators that had braved the heavy rain and they were not disappointed as battle continued.

On 12 minutes Joe Adams collected a cross-field pass, from right to left, and cut right along the front edge of the home box to shoot but his effort was deflected wide of the left post. 

After a couple of corner kicks for The Boatmen it was Cirencester’s turn as Sholing defended a couple of free kicks followed by Levi Irving reaching the left by-line to cross into the box and when it was recycled he fed Parsons – shot blocked, rebounding to a supporting Joe Turley who fired over from 15 yards. 

The action was ‘end-to-end’ with no quarter being asked or given as both sides searched for an opening - as demonstrated when Adams twisted and turned as he tried to lose his marker before shooting high over the bar from 25 yards. 

Around the half-hour mark Turley and Parsons combined to work their way down the right channel but it petered out when the final pass into the box was not anticipated by a team-mate.

This was soon followed by a well-weighted pass from Ellis Dunton into the path of Whitehead as he charged down the right flank before cutting left to fire a fierce shot from 15 yards towards the top right corner where Gosney pushed it wide for a corner kick.

Cirencester were finishing the half positively as Tom Handley controlled the ball on his chest before supplying Whitehead in the left corner who crossed to Parsons – taken off his toe.

Into the final 5 minutes and Cirencester were awarded a free kick on their left flank, 25 yards out, that Parsons delivered into the mix where Jake Lee headed against the right post – cleared. 

In the final minute Irving raced along the left by-line before sending a low cross towards Parsons who once again had the ball taken off his toe before he could bundle it over the line.

Half Time:   0-0

Immediately from the re-start, with the rain still pouring down, Cirencester pressed as Turley won the ball in midfield to supply Handley who sent a 40-yard cross-field pass to the right corner for Shepherd to slip it inside to Parsons but as he cut into the box it was defended for a throw-in to the home side.

Moments later Irving produced a piece of skill on half-way to get past a couple of challenges before charging to the left corner where Claudio Herbert eased him off the ball to clear.

Back came Cirencester as Whitehead cut left to strike his shot towards the right post where Gosney made the low save to keep it out and Sholing responded as Cope fired a similar low shot at the home goal for Harris to gather at his right post.

Despite the appalling weather the game was still being played at a pace with skill and commitment from both sides and it remained competitive until the very end with the drama unfolding in the final few minutes.

During the final quarter the rain finally stopped and as the game entered ‘added-time’ Parsons battled for the ball just outside the Sholing box to poke it towards Irving, in space on the left channel front edge of the box, and he took it forward to round Gosney but before he could shoot Gosney brought him down for a Penalty Kick to be awarded. Josh Parsons stepped up to take the spot kick but struck it wide of the left post.

A couple of minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick on their left flank, 35 yards out, and Handley sent it to the far post where it was initially cleared but recycled to Handley who again sent it to the far post. This time it was headed out for a throw-in in the right corner that was launched into the Sholing penalty area to evade a couple of would-be contacts before falling to ROSS GABRIEL to the right of the near post and he managed to get enough contact on the ball to send it past Gosney and inside the far-left post to claim victory for The Centurions.

Full Time:   1-0

An entertaining game between two very capable sides in extreme conditions that was tense throughout, due to what was at stake in terms of their unbeaten status and league positions, and what drama at the very end to decide the destination of the points.

 

Attendance:     115                                                       Referee:   Liam Beames

 

Cirencester Town: 

 1.         Alex Harris
 2.        Shayne Anson
 3.        Tom Handley
 4.        Josh Nelmes
 5.        Jake Lee     ©
 6.        Ellis Dunton
 7.        Joe Shepherd
 8.        Joe Turley
 9.        Ben Whitehead
10.        Josh Parsons
11.        Levi Irving

12.        Ross Gabriel                             (Ben Whitehead-78mins)   90+5
14.        Elliott Keightley
15.        Aidan Bennett
16.        James Mortimer-Jones
17.        Kevin Sawyer  (GK)

 

Sholing FC:

 1.         Ryan Gosney
 2.        Ryan Cluett
 3.        Bradley Targett
 4.        Charlie Wagstaffe
 5.        Daniel Miller
 6.        Robin Nicholls
 7.        Claudio Herbert
 8.        Byron Mason     ©
 9.        Daniel Mason
10.        Joe Adams
11.        Jake Cope

12.        Stuart Green                            (Ryan Cluett-19mins)   
13.        Luke Deacon   (GK)
14.        Conor Whiteley                        (Jake Cope-83mins)
15.        Martin Buckland
17.        Mitchell Byrne

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