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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  1 - 1  Larkhall Athletic 

 

Click photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Match photos supplied by Graham Hill

 

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

LARKHALL ATHLETIC were the latest visitors to The Corinium Stadium for a mid-week league fixture and after a very entertaining and competitive game they scored a late equaliser to prevent Cirencester from securing the 3 points needed to head the table going into the match at current league leaders Frome Town on Saturday.

 

The visitors are having a very successful season as they are one of the few Clubs at our level still involved in the FA Trophy as they visit Stockport County for a Fourth Round fixture at the weekend. This cup run has prevented them from playing as many league matches as the teams around them as, prior to this fixture, they had only completed 17 matches to sit in 10th place with 27 points whilst others around them have played 3 more matches and it expected that they will be in the ‘mix’ towards the end of the season.

 

Cirencester kicked-off proceedings playing towards The Shed end of the ground and almost immediately there was a question raised by the home support as visiting ‘keeper Shaun Semmens dashed from his area to clear a free kick before a home player could collect with a hint of ‘handball’ but the Referee was confident it was his midriff that made contact with the ball

The home side had made a positive start to the game and a minute later Ben Whitehead worked the ball along the right by-line to win a corner kick that reached Joe Turley but his shot was blocked and cleared and after trying the left flank unsuccessfully several players combined to bring the ball out of defence, down the centre and to the right corner where Whitehead cut in to supply Levi Irving in the left channel of the Larkhall box and as he advanced so did Semmens to block his shot and drop onto the ball.

As the 15-minute mark approached Larkhall pressed down their right flank a couple of times before Alex Lambert delivered a cross to the far-left post where Shayne Anson cleared the danger.

Shortly afterwards Tommy Anderson burst into the Larkhall box but his cross was blocked leading to a corner kick from the right that Mike Pook sent to Turley who slipped it to Irving in the right channel, 15 yards out, and he swivelled to shoot towards the far-left post – blocked on the line and cleared.

At the mid-point of the half Larkhall’s Brad Norris made a strong run down the right channel to reach the home penalty area where custodian Alex Harris advanced to deny him in a 1v1.

Cirencester responded as Whitehead crossed from the right flank towards Irving, to the right of the penalty spot, but the ball bounced off him as he attempted to control and Michael Baker produced a calm piece of defending to ‘back-head’ the ball to Semmens behind him.

A few minutes later Whitehead supplied Turley, near the left channel front edge of the Larkhall box and he turned to place a right footed curler that was just wide of the right post.

Into the final ten minutes of the half and Tom Handley played another well-weighted pass down the left flank for Irving to chase to the by-line and cross towards a fast-supporting Anderson but he was unable to supply the finish at the right post.

Larkhall responded as Norris sent the ball to Dan Demkiv in the left corner where Anson delayed his progress but it was recycled for Dan Restorick to reach the by-line and send towards the penalty spot and it took a little while for Cirencester to clear the threat with a number of blocks in the process.

The home side were awarded several free kicks and corner kicks during the 5-minutes leading up to the interval but couldn’t break through the stubborn resistance of the Larkhall defence.

Half Time:   0-0

After all the resistance of the first half it was somewhat surprising that Cirencester opened the scoring two minutes into the second.

Shortly after the re-start Jake Lee brought the ball forward towards half-way and sent it deep into the right corner where BEN WHITEHEAD chased after it, to collect near the by-line, and under pressure worked his way back to the front corner of the Larkhall area before cutting left to drive the ball into the top left corner.  1-0.

Larkhall replied as Lambert collected a pass near the front left corner of the home box, cut right, and shot towards the left post where Harris saved.

As Cirencester countered down their left flank a free kick was awarded, ten yards inside the Larkhall half, and Pook delivered it into the right of the penalty spot where Ellis Dunton made too good a connection with his head as it flew over the bar.

Almost immediately Larkhall replaced a centre back with a midfielder to press Cirencester and it became more ‘end-to-end’ but there were still few clear chances.

As the hour mark approached Larkhall delivered a dangerous cross from their right flank that Anson headed away at the back post and on the hour Whitehead chased down another pass to the right corner to return it to the centre for Pook to move on to Handley on the left flank and after exchanging passes with Irving the defender delivered a cross that was just wide of the far-right post.

At the mid-point of the half Larkhall worked their right flank to deliver a cross into the home box where Dunton’s header cleared the incoming Larkhall forward to reach Demkiv at the far post but he couldn’t direct his header and Harris was able to collect.

As the visitors worked the ball down the pitch Anderson intercepted for a charge down the right channel and as he reached the Larkhall box he attempted to dribble between the central defenders but the ball rebounded off him for Semmens to collect.

Shortly afterwards Larkhall were awarded a free kick, left flank – halfway, that Alfie Clarke delivered to the front edge of the home box to be moved on to the right by-line but the resulting cross was blocked by Irving for a corner kick, followed by another that was cleared.

Into the final ten minutes and Anderson displayed some neat footwork as he won the ball in the centre before working forward down the right flank to clear the threat.

Five scheduled minutes to go and several Cirencester players combined to work the ball from right to left to win a corner kick. Once again Pook delivered the kick to the far post where Dunton’s header struck the post and underside of the bar before being cleared and launched down the Larkhall left flank. Dan Demkiv chased after it and managed to reach the by-line where he sent a low cross towards the far-right post for a supporting JACK PEARSON-BROWN to finish inside the post.  1-1.

In the six minutes of ‘added-time’ both sides sent balls into their opponent’s penalty area but without success and the game finished as it had started all-square.

Full Time:   1-1

It had been a very competitive game with no quarter asked or given and whilst Cirencester may have shaded possession Larkhall were solid in defence and dangerous on the break to produce an enthralling match for the neutral spectators.

 

Attendance:     169                                                       Referee:   Thomas Staten

 

Cirencester Town:

 1.         Alex Harris
 2.        Shayne Anson
 3.        Tom Handley
 4.        Michael Pook
 5.        Jake Lee     ©
 6.        Ellis Dunton
 7.        Tommy Anderson
 8.        Josh Nelmes
 9.        Levi Irving       
10.        Ben Whitehead                                    47
11.        Joe Turley                                          

12.        Ross Gabriel
14.        Josh Parsons                            (Ben Whitehead-71mins)                                 
15.        Joe Shepherd
16.        Nick Hancock
17.        Jordan Morris

 

Larkhall Athletic:

 1.        Shaun Semmens
 2.        Daniel Restorick
 3.        Alfie Clarke
 4.        Joseph Hillard
 5.        Michael Baker     ©
 6.        Josh Jones
 7.        Alex Lambert
 8.        Harry Simons
 9.        Daniel Demkiv 
10.       Brad Norris
11.       Jack Camm

12.        Dale Evans                                (Michael Baker-54mins)           
14.        Jack Pearson-Brown                 (Harry Simons-65mins)  88
15.        Tom Warren
17.        Christopher Humphries   (GK)

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