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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

 

Willand Rovers  0 - 2  Cirencester Town 

 

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

 

Cirencester were back on the road for their last fixture before the Christmas celebrations as they travelled to Devon to face Willand Rovers for the first time at their Silver Street ground and after a hard-fought match on a difficult pitch returned with the three points.

 

The two previous meetings of the sides had both been at The Corinium Stadium in the ‘curtailed’ seasons so this was a first visit to Silver Street for The Centurions.

 

 

In terms of current form ‘The Devon All-Whites’ had obtained 7 points from their previous 6 matches whilst Cirencester had acquired 11 points putting them in 11th and 6th place respectively in the ‘6-match form guide’ table.

 

 

The home side kicked-off and immediately attacked down their left flank as Ben Griffith cut in from the left to shoot – parried by ‘keeper Alex Harris and recycled for a cross from the right corner that was defended. 

Cirencester responded as Harris sent a free kick to the left corner where Aidan Bennett’s cross was cleared to Josh Nelmes who clipped it down the left channel from half-way for Joe Shepherd to flick into the path of Levi Irving as he made ground to the left corner. The resulting cross was blocked and cleared. 

Back came the home side as Bailey Kempster made a strong run down their left flank to the corner to cross – it was missed by a supporting team-mate but reached a surprised Thomas Bath who fired wide of the right post from just inside the visitor’s penalty area.    

Willard then tried their right flank as Griffith crossed from the corner to the far post where Shayne Anson challenged Bath and the ball ricocheted to Harris. 

It was a very positive start from the home side as all this action had been in the first ten minutes and when Cirencester began to counter Bennett’s shot was blocked and home ‘keeper George Burton was quickly out to clear before Irving could latch onto a through ball from Tom Handley. 

A strong 30-yard run down their left flank from Will Richards and a pass to the right to Archie Reay resulted in a shot over the bar before Cirencester responded with an attack down their right flank as Anson, Tommy Anderson and Irving combined for the latter to send a terrific pass to Bennett as he cut in from the left side edge of the home box to shoot towards the near post – parried and dived on before it could cross the by-line. 

Shortly before the mid-point of the half Bath and Griffith exchanged passes but as Bath shot from 10 yards Harris was quickly out to smother the attempt. 

Moments later the action was at the other end as Willand defended a Cirencester corner kick for Griffith to bring the ball forward and release Bath, left flank- halfway, but a well-timed covering tackle from Shepherd stopped his progress.   

Willand then tried their right flank where they pressed for a while but were unable to penetrate the Cirencester defence who countered by working the ball down their right flank as Anson won the ball to feed Irving. He slipped the ball inside to a supporting Anderson, left to Mike Pook who returned it to Anderson as he burst into the home box but his shot from the right channel was saved by Burton. 

On the half hour Pook delivered a free kick from the left flank into the home penalty area – Burton pushed it over his bar for a corner kick from the right and then did the same to the resulting back-post header from Shepherd. This time Pook delivered to the near post for Irving to head towards the top left corner – once again Burton pushed it out before blocking the follow-up shot. 

Cirencester were beginning to press with more conviction and in their attempt to deny them progress a couple of home players were awarded Yellow Cards. 

As the interval loomed Pook supplied Irving - shot blocked, rebounding to Anderson - shot deflected for a corner kick from the left. Pook delivered it to the back post where Shepherd headed over the bar. 

Almost immediately Pook supplied Shepherd who sent a low cross from the right flank into the home box that was cleared at the far post. 

In the final action of the half Bath headed on to Griffith who shot from the edge of the Cirencester penalty area for Harris to push it wide for a corner kick that was defended. 

Half Time:   0-0

Cirencester started the second half in a more positive fashion and immediately pressed the home side to win a corner kick. Nick Hancock sent the kick towards the penalty spot for Shepherd to head goal-wards – blocked but collected by Bennett who crossed to the far-right post where Anson’s header was also blocked, as was Shepherd’s follow-up effort. 

Back came Cirencester as they worked the right flank for Irving to cut left – fouled. Hancock delivered the free kick from 25 yards to the far post where Shepherd’s shot was deflected for a corner kick from the left flank.  The kick to the near post was played back to Hancock by Irving and as he crossed again an advancing home player jumped and was adjudged to have blocked the cross with his hand and a Penalty Kick awarded. 

With a poor penalty kick record (missed five of their previous attempts), Captain JAKE LEE took responsibility for the kick and drove it into the roof of the net to score and break the dead-lock.  0-1. 

During the next few minutes Anson made a strong run down the right flank to reach the corner and Shepherd, Irving and Bennett worked the ball down the left flank but in both instances the home side dealt with the threat. 

Before the hour mark Willand were awarded a free kick that Searle delivered to the edge of the 6-yard box for Bath to head down and clip the outside of the right post. 

As the mid-point of the half approached Ryan Guppy was awarded his second Yellow Card, followed by the obligatory Red Card, but despite this setback Willand continued to battle manfully to make it difficult for Cirencester. 

A couple of minutes later a Willand free kick into the Cirencester box required two blocks to clear the danger. 

The match became ‘scrappy’ and whilst Cirencester reached the corners a couple of times and Anderson made a 40-yard run down the left flank the home side survived and mounted a counter attack of their own as Travis Yule-Turner charged down the right flank to be stopped by a well-timed tackle from Josh Nelmes.

With seven minutes remaining Anderson intercepted a clearance 25 yards out, right channel, moved forward and slipped the ball left to LEVI IRVING, near the Penalty Spot, who cleverly slid the ball under the advancing Burton to score.  0-2.

Willand responded immediately as Jack Rice-Lethaby was played into the right channel of the Cirencester box and his shot was deflected to clip the top of the bar and from the resulting corner kick Louis Jagger-Cane fired over the bar. 

The final action of the game was an exchange of passes between Ellis Dunton, playing as a makeshift striker, and Irving for the former to slip the ball right towards a supporting Anderson who had his shot blocked. 

Full Time:   0-2 

It certainly wasn’t a classic, but more a match of endeavour and commitment, on a soft pitch that made turning and dribbling difficult. 

 

Attendance:    130                             Referee:       Tim Burley 

 

Willand Rovers:

   1.     George Burton
   2.     Josh Searle     ©
   3.     William Richards
   4.     Adam Poole
   5.     Kieran Bailey
   6.     Archie Reay
   7.     Benjamin Griffith
   8.     Ryan Guppy
   9.     Thomas Bath
  10.     Jack Rice-Lethaby
  11.     Bailey Kempster

  12.     Louis Jagger Cane                       (Thomas Bath-57mins)
  14.     Adam Hill
  15.     Rhys Thomas                               (Bailey Kempster-69mins)
  16.     Travis Yule-Turner                        (Josh Searle-81mins)
  17.     Scott Piper

 

Cirencester Town:

    1.     Alex Harris
    2.     Shayne Anson
    3.     Tom Handley
    4.     Michael Pook
    5.     Jake Lee     ©                                      49p 
    6.     Josh Nelmes  
    7.     Tommy Anderson
    8.     Joe Turley
    9.     Levi Irving                                            88
   10.     Aidan Bennett
   11.     Joe Shepherd 

   12.     Nick Hancock                             (Michael Pook-46mins)
   14.     Ellis Dunton                                (Aidan Bennett-89mins)
   15.     Elliott Keightley
   16.     Jordan Morris                         
   17.     James Mortimer-Jones

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