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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

 

Highworth Town  1 - 3  Cirencester Town 

 

Click photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Match photos supplied by Graham Hill

 

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

The second Bank Holiday fixture of the Christmas/New Year period took Cirencester to near neighbours Highworth Town and after a competitive match on a tricky, soft pitch ‘The Centurions’ returned with the three points.

  

Examination of the relevant tables reveals that prior to this game Highworth Town were in 11th place in the League table and 15th in the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table whilst Cirencester were 3rd in both but in ‘local derby’ matches this often counts for nothing with ‘bragging rights’ at stake.

 

Cirencester Manager, John Brough, named an unchanged starting eleven when compared to the side that faced Evesham United in the previous Bank Holiday fixture and there was one change to the bench as Joe Shepherd returned.

  

The visitors kicked-off proceedings, playing up the slope towards the Clubhouse but the move soon came to a halt with an ‘offside’ decision as they approached the left corner. 

They tried the same corner a few minutes later but when the home side launched the ball downfield to clear any threat it reached ‘keeper Alex Harris and he left his box to thump it down the centre of the pitch. As it dropped LEVI IRVING chased after it and managed to slip it under the advancing home ‘keeper Connor Johns to open the scoring after 6 minutes.  0-1.

The home side responded to this early setback as Leon Morrison sent a cross-field pass, from left to right, to Matthew Cheetham who headed it on for an overlapping Harry Ayres to collect and drive forward but his cross was caught by Harris at his near post. 

A few minutes later a low right footed shot from Ashley Edenborough, right channel – 25 yards out, was saved by Harris. 

At this stage Cirencester were working their flanks to good effect and a move down their right to the corner resulted in a free kick that Nick Hancock delivered to the penalty spot where Irving’s shot was blocked and cleared but re-cycled to Aidan Bennett on the left flank. His cross into the box was headed away for a counter attack that resulted in a free kick to the home side on half-way. The kick was taken quickly to release Rhys Wells to the left corner but he ran out of room – goal-kick.

A few minutes later the ball reached Irving in the right channel of the home box and he sent a measured effort narrowly wide of the far-left post. 

Despite the conditions, a soft pitch that made judging the weight of pass and turning difficult, the game was ‘end-to-end’ with neither side keeping the ball for long but Cirencester were using their flanks to test the home defence whilst Highworth were countering through their fullbacks.

Around the 30-minute mark Irving and Bennett combined for the latter to fire over the bar and then the former produced a deft header that his team-mates failed to read before he flicked another one goal-wards to bring out a low save at the second attempt from Johns at his left post. 

Ten minutes from the interval Tommy Anderson made a charging 30-yard run down the centre of the pitch, but up the hill, that took him into the home box but his resulting left footed shot lacked the power to trouble Johns. 

As the half was drawing to a close Ellis Dunton fed Irving in the left corner but there was no-one on the end of his cross to the penalty spot enabling Highworth to counter. 

Into the final minutes and Charlie McCrae played the ball down the left touchline to the corner leading to a throw-in that was returned to Morrison who crossed to the far post. Cheetham collected it and sent it to Edenborough who tussled with Shayne Anson resulting in the defender embarking on a strong run up the right touchline.    

Half Time:   0-1 

As play resumed Highworth created a chance to level as they worked the ball down their left flank and back to Sean Wood who sent a terrific 40-yard cross-field pass, from left to right, for Ayres to head wide of the right post from the right channel, 10-yards out. 

Cirencester responded by pressing and when Anderson intercepted a clearance kick he immediately supplied AIDAN BENNETT as he moved forward to the centre front edge of the home box where he cut right and shot, blocked but rebounded back into his path and this time he blasted it inside the far-left post.  0-2.     

The visitors then pressed to the right corner as Irving exchanged passes with Hancock but conceded a free kick in their efforts. 

The ball was quickly fed up to ASHLEY EDENBOROUGH, near the left channel front edge of the Cirencester penalty area, and as he shot it took a deflection that looped it over the stranded Harris and inside the far-right post to reduce the arrears.  1-2. 

Back came Cirencester as Joe Turley sent the ball down the right channel towards Irving who was fouled and when Hancock delivered the kick to the far-post Jake Lee met it with his head and it looked to have wrong-footed Johns as he darted across his goal to cover his right post but somehow he twisted and managed to keep it out. The follow-up effort was adjudged to be ‘offside’. 

Highworth then worked the ball to their right corner to ‘win’ a corner kick that was delivered to the head of Jonah Hall but his effort was caught by Harris. 

The visitors had the better of the next fifteen minutes as they pressed forward with the high-light a fierce shot from Tom Handley as he charged forward 20 yards, cut right and unleashed a thunderbolt from 35 yards that just cleared the top right corner.   

The home side responded by working the ball up their right flank and into the box where a foul and Penalty Kick was awarded. Ashley Edenborough stepped forward to take responsibility and blasted the spot kick over the bar. 

With 15 minutes to go Cirencester introduced loanee Ben Whitehead to the action in place of the hard-working Levi Irving and he immediately linked with Bennett to shoot – saved. 

Encouraged by his earlier exploits Handley embarked on another run down the left flank and when he reached the corner he squared the ball to a supporting Anderson who fired narrowly wide of the left post from the edge of the box.

Cirencester were pressing again as Whitehead fired wide of the far-right post from a narrow angle and on the 90-minute mark they had reached the left corner to take a couple of throw-ins and it looked like they were playing for possession until suddenly Whitehead turned sharply at the by-line to supply JOE SHEPHERD who smashed it into the top left corner from the left channel of the box, 16-yards out.  1-3.

In the final few minutes Highworth pressed to win a couple of corner kicks but Cirencester held on to secure the three points.  

Full Time:   1-3

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

Entertaining none-the-less and tense towards the end as Highworth pressed forward.

 

Attendance:    312                             Referee:       Matthew Rushton

 

 

Highworth Town: 

   1.     Connor Johns
   2.     Harry Ayres
   3.     Charlie McCrae
   4.     Daniel Comer     ©
   5.     Leon Morrison
   6.     Joah Hall
   7.     Matthew Cheetham
   8.     Sean Wood
   9.     Ashley Edenborough                              51
  10.     Felipe Barcelos
  11.     Rhys Wells

  12.     Liam Haines
  14.     Oliver Rejek                                (Daniel Comer-85mins)
  15.     Robert Dean
  16.     Luke Jones                                  (Harry Ayres-70mins)

Cirencester Town: 

    1.     Alex Harris
    2.     Shayne Anson
    3.     Tom Handley
    4.     Joe Turley
    5.     Jake Lee     © 
    6.     Ellis Dunton 
    7.     Tommy Anderson
    8.     Josh Nelmes
    9.     Levi Irving                                            6
   10.    Nick Hancock
   11.     Aidan Bennett                                     48 

   12.     Joe Shepherd                            (Joe Turley-71mins)  90
   14.     Jordan Morris                           
   15.     Ben Whitehead                          (Levi Irving-76mins)
   16.     Ross Gabriel                           
   17.     Kevin Sawyer

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