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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South


Winchester City  1 - 3  Cirencester Town 


Match report by Dave Pyzer


Shortly before their scheduled departure time Cirencester experienced snowfall as Storm Arwen worked its way down the country inevitably raising questions as to what weather would greet the Cirencester squad and supporters upon their arrival at Winchester for this important fixture between two teams that are level on points and have a long-standing rivalry.

Prior to the match Winchester City sat in 6th place in the league table, due to a superior goal difference, and Cirencester 7th (although the 25 points were obtained from one game less than their hosts). In terms of current form Winchester had amassed 10 points from their previous 5 games whilst for Cirencester it was 7 points.


Cirencester Manager, John Brough, made some changes to the starting eleven as Ellis Dunton was rested, having played 21 matches on the bounce, and this required a shuffle of the backline with Shayne Anson moving to Centre Back and Elliott Keightley taking his place at right back. Brad Gray also made his first start of the season and Mike Pook returned - in place of Joe Shepherd and Josh Nelmes respectively.


To answer the earlier weather question - it was dry but there was a strong, very cold, biting wind blowing diagonally across the pitch that would make control difficult in terms of accurate passing.


The home side kicked off to attack down their right flank and were awarded a free kick that proved the earlier point as the recipient of the kick sliced the ball well wide of the left post.

As the sides tested the conditions it was end-to-end as neither side was able to retain the ball for long and the first real threat on goal came in the 17th minute when Oliver Balmer collected the ball near the centre circle and charged towards the Cirencester penalty area for a 1v1 with custodian Alex Harris.  As he neared the area Balmer shot and Harris pushed it wide of his goal to concede a corner kick that was headed over the bar. 

A minute later Balmer was in action again as he sent a cross from the right touchline to Warren Bentley, near the penalty spot, who headed wide of the right post. 

By the mid-point of the half Cirencester were also mounting attacks down their flanks as Tommy Anderson cut in from the right and Levi Irving crossed from the left for Charlie Philpott to catch.

On the half hour Tom Handley exchanged passes with Irving as they worked their way down the left flank and the former sent a low trajectory cross towards the far post where Dan King headed clear. 

The busy Irving then collected the ball near the front corner of the home box but struck his shot over the bar. 

Shortly afterwards Josh Parsons played in Brad Gray who reached the right front corner of the home box before his progress was halted and a free kick awarded. Mike Pook delivered the kick towards the far post where it evaded contact to be cleared near the corner flag. 

A few minutes later Handley delivered another low trajectory cross to the far post for Gray to head back into the penalty area where it was cleared.     

As the interval loomed Philpott took advantage of the wind to punt the ball to the far-left corner where Harris left his area to clear as King arrived, for a Winchester throw-in. The throw was launched into the area to reach Bentley who twisted and turned before having a couple of shots blocked and then sent the rebound towards OLIVER BALMER, in space in line with the right post – 10 yards out, and he promptly tucked it inside the post.  1-0.    

The Cirencester reply was within a couple of minutes as Joe Turley won the ball to feed Irving who embarked on a run to the left corner that resulted in a free kick. Mike Pook delivered the kick into the mix on the edge of the 6-yard box where after a couple of blocks JAKE LEE latched onto the loose ball to poke it over the line from close range.  1-1.   

Half Time:   1-1 

Within 5 minutes of the re-start Cirencester worked the ball down the centre, Turley to Parsons, on to Anderson who shot into the arms of Philpott and minutes later another Anderson run resulted in a free kick just outside the area that Gray struck towards the bottom left corner but Philpott dived to his right to catch. 

With the benefit of the wind Cirencester were pressing forward and another strong run from Irving, down the left flank, resulted in a corner kick that he headed against the crossbar. 

As the hour mark approached the ball was played into the home penalty area where Gray laid it off to Anderson who slipped it left to JOSH PARSONS, left channel – 10 yards out, and he calmly picked his spot to place his shot inside the far-right post.  1-2. 

Before the mid-point of the half Cirencester headed wide of the right post and had a corner kick headed clear by Patrick Nolan as they continued to push forward but a couple of minutes later Josh McCormick won the ball near half-way to supply Balmer near the left front corner of the Cirencester box and he drove his shot narrowly wide of the far-right post. 

With 27 minutes of the second half on the clock Harris took a leaf out of Philpott’s book as he too punted the ball to the left corner for Irving to collect and dart into the home area where his progress was swiftly halted, resulting in a penalty kick. Mike Pook stepped forward to take the kick and sent it wide of the left post – the 5th penalty miss of the season.

Seven minutes later Irving charged to the left by-line before sending a low cross to JOSH PARSONS, near the centre front edge of the 6-yard box, who tucked it into the net.  1-3.

Almost immediately Winchester were reduced to ten men following a strong challenge on Anderson that resulted in the culprit being awarded a straight Red Card.

Into the final five scheduled minutes and a loose back pass was seized upon by Anderson but Philpott recovered to deflect the effort over his bar.

In added-time Winchester attacked to the right corner to win a throw-in that produced a corner kick.  Craig Feeney delivered the kick to Bentley near the right post but his shot from a couple of yards was deflected up into the air for Harris to catch. 

The final action of the match was a Cirencester corner kick from the left that resulted in both Ross Gabriel’s volley and a Parsons follow-up being blocked. 

Full Time:   1-3 

After three defeats and a draw in their last four away matches The Centurions finally secured a victory on the road. 

A much-improved performance – more like the Cirencester of a few weeks ago.



Attendance:    143                             Referee:       ???


Winchester City:


   1.     Charlie Philpott
   2.     Josh McCormick
   3.     Daniel King
   4.     Ollie Griggs
   5.     Daniel Walster
   6.     Patrick Nolan
   7.     Max Smith
   8.     Jamie Barron
   9.     Warren Bentley
  10.     Oliver Balmer                                        42
  11.     Simbarashe Mlambo

  12.     Craig Feeney                             (Simbarashe Mlambo-70mins)
  14.     Robert Flooks
  15.     Kieren Douglas                          (Daniel Walster-56mins)
  16.     Liam Callaghan
  17.     Oliver Bailey                             (Ollie Griggs-65mins)


Cirencester Town:


    1.     Alex Harris
    2.     Elliott Keightley
    3.     Tom Handley
    4.     Michael Pook
    5.     Jake Lee     ©                                       44 
    6.     Shayne Anson  
    7.     Thomas Anderson
    8.     Joe Turley
    9.     Bradley Gray
   10.     Josh Parsons                                        58, 79
   11.     Levi Irving

   12.     Josh Nelmes
   14.     Joseph Shepherd                      (Brad Gray-75mins)
   15.     Ross Gabriel                              (Joe Turley-89mins)
   16.     Ellis Dunton                                                                 
   17.     Aidan Bennett                            (Levi Irving-83mins)

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