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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

 

Cirencester Town  2 - 0  AFC Totton

 

Click photo to view a slideshow of photos from the match

Match photos supplied by Graham Hill

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

The Corinium Stadium was the place to be on Saturday - to be entertained by a fast-paced, free-flowing football match that had an early goal in each half from the hosts and the woodwork struck a couple of times by the visitors as two of the top three sides in the Southern League – South Division locked horns.

 

The visitors, AFC Totton, are the divisions leading goal-scorers with 61 goals in 20 games whilst Cirencester have the second-best record for goals against at this stage of the season so an interesting contest was in prospect. In terms of current form, examination of the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table reveals that ‘The Stags’ are in 5th place and ‘The Centurions’ in 1st place prior to this match whilst the league positions are 3rd and 1st respectively.

 

The visitors kicked off playing towards The Shed end of the ground but almost immediately conceded a free kick that enabled Cirencester to attack to the left corner as Tom Handley fed Levi Irving who had his cross cut out for a corner kick that led to a Jake Lee header being caught by ‘keeper Lewis Noice as it headed towards his left post.

Five minutes into the game Cirencester were awarded a free kick, right channel-10 yards inside the Totton half, that Mike Pook delivered to the far post where ELLIS DUNTON darted forward to volley inside the left post and into the roof of the net.  1-0.

Almost immediately Cirencester worked the ball down the right flank as Shayne Anson, Tommy Anderson and Pook combined with quick passing on half-way to supply Nick Hancock who crossed from the corner – a very positive start from the home side.

Not to be outdone the visitors responded as they worked the ball down their right flank before crossing to Hisham Kasimu on the centre front edge of the home box and he slipped it to his left for a supporting Sam Griffin to drive into the left channel of the box to shoot. His effort struck the bar and bounced down to be cleared by Handley.

Cirencester then mounted an attack involving five Centurions that started on half-way, right flank, to reach Levi Irving in the left channel of the Totton box, leading to a corner kick as his effort was blocked.

Shortly before the mid-point of the half Kasimu reached the left by-line but his initial cross was blocked and eventually recycled to him to cross to the right channel of the home box where Jack Hoey’s shot was deflected for a corner kick from the right and this resulted in custodian Alex Harris having to tip the ball over his crossbar for a corner kick from the left that reached Griffin at the far post and he headed it against the woodwork before being sent back in to Hoey who headed wide of the left post.    

The Cirencester response was to work the ball down their right flank to the corner and as it was fed to Josh Parsons in the box he was knocked over but nothing untoward observed by the officials and play continued for Totton to counter.

Around the half-hour mark Totton mounted a number of attacks with neat football but were unable to penetrate the home defence who countered as Josh Parsons latched onto a loose ball in the Totton area but as he pulled the trigger his shot was blocked.

Back came Totton as Ethan Taylor’s low cross from the right by-line was claimed by Harris and then Kasimu supplied Griffin – cross blocked and follow-up shot from Kasimu also blocked and cleared.

Totton were pressing hard and Harris was called upon to block another Griffin effort and punch away the resulting corner kick. He then had to parry a fierce drive from Jordan Ragguette as he cut in from the left flank.

Into the final minutes of the half and Pook launched a free kick towards the penalty spot where an aerial challenge between Lee and Noice resulted in the ball being loose but the ‘keeper bravely dived on it as Irving looked to collect – providing him with a free kick.

With the interval looming Cirencester then worked the ball down their right flank to the corner for Hancock to cross but it was cleared before Irving could collect. 

Half Time:   1-0

Within a couple of minutes of the re-start Jordan Ngalo sent a cross-field pass from right to left for Ragguette to collect and run to the corner resulting in a corner kick that Fred Read delivered to the penalty spot where it was headed out to Taylor but his lob back into the mix was too heavy and a goal-kick was the result.

As Cirencester worked the ball down their right touch-line they were awarded a free kick, 10 yards inside the Totton half, that Lee sent to the left channel front edge of the visitor’s box where Shepherd headed it on but when it was cleared it fell to Parsons who moved into the right channel of the Totton box for a 1v1 with Noice but his shot was blocked and cleared.

Almost immediately Cirencester were awarded another free kick in the centre circle and when it was cleared it was recycled back to Lee who sent it to the left corner resulting in throw-in to Cirencester. Following the throw-in Handley delivered a well flighted cross from the flank to Parsons, near the penalty spot, and his touch guided it wide of Noice to strike the right post and be cleared.

Mike Pook then sent the ball from the right flank, 35 yards out, to the penalty spot where Irving challenged and the ball broke to JOE SHEPHERD as he entered the visitor’s box and he lashed it into the ground and up into the top left corner.  2-0.   

The visitors mounted a couple of attacks, right flank and left channel but both were comfortably dealt with by the home defence.

Shortly before the hour mark Hancock sent another free kick from the left flank, 25 yards out, to the far post where Dunton headed it back towards Shepherd who volleyed over the bar from near the penalty spot.   

‘The Stags’ then attacked down their right flank to reach the corner before switching to the left channel front edge of the home box where the threat was cleared by Anderson who began a counter down the Cirencester right flank that ultimately resulted in a corner kick that Hancock drove to the back post where Dunton collected and shot but his effort was blocked at the left post for another corner kick from the left flank. This time Hancock’s kick passed through the 6-yard box and out for a goal-kick.

At the mid-point of the half Harris launched the ball down the left flank for Irving to head on to the corner where Parsons charged to collect but Pascal Kpohomouh had anticipated the move and covered to challenge and after some impressive footwork he was able to pass the ball to Noice to complete the clearance.

Five minutes later Griffin crossed from the left corner towards the front edge of the home box where Dunton won the ball and carried it forward before sending it towards the Totton penalty area – where Noice darted from his box to clear before Irving could reach it.

At this stage attacks were thick and fast as Hoey responded to reach the right corner but his cross passed through the home area without contact. Griffin then tried as he reached the right front corner of the Cirencester area but his shot was blocked for a corner kick that Hancock cleared at the near post.

Totton then worked the ball from right to left and as Ragguette crossed Pook was in the way to block for another corner kick that Harris punched away for Shepherd to complete the clearance.

As Cirencester attacked to the right corner Totton were awarded a couple of throw-ins and switched to the right flank as Read and Callum Baughan combined to supply Jack Masterton who shot over the bar.  

As the game entered the final ten scheduled minutes Shepherd and Anderson collided as they attempted to clear an attack with the ball breaking to a Stags player who sent a firm, low shot towards the left post where Harris saved.

There was still time for Cirencester to counter to the left corner for a corner kick and Pook to block a couple of Totton shots before the final action of Hoey shooting over the top left corner from the right channel, 25 yards out.

Full Time:   2-0

It is clear to see why the visitors have scored so many goals with their movement and pace but the Cirencester defence was up for the challenge and whilst they rode their luck at times, particularly in the first half, it was the home side that overcame on the day with plenty of assistance from the whole team as they worked tirelessly for the 3 points.

A terrific advertisement for non-league football with two excellent sides producing an entertaining game.

 

 

Attendance:     180                                                       Referee:   Dale Wootton

 

Cirencester Town: 

 1.         Alex Harris
 2.        Shayne Anson
 3.        Tom Handley
 4.        Michael Pook
 5.        Jake Lee     ©
 6.        Ellis Dunton                                          5
 7.        Tommy Anderson
 8.        Nick Hancock
 9.        Levi Irving       
10.        Josh Parsons
11.        Joe Shepherd                                      52                                           

12.        Ross Gabriel                             (Levi Irving-90mins)
14.        Ben Whitehead                        (Josh Parsons-71mins)                         
15.        Josh Nelmes
16.        Joe Turley                               (Tommy Anderson-85mins)
17.        Nick Peare

 

AFC Totton:

 1.         Lewis Noice
 2.        Callum Baughan
 3.        Jordan Ragguette
 4.        Frederick Read
 5.        Harry Medway     ©
 6.        Pascal Kpohomouh
 7.        Jack Hoey
 8.        Jordan Ngalo
 9.        Hisham Kasimu 
10.        Ethan Taylor
11.        Sam Griffin

12.        Jack Masterton                        (Jordan Ngalo-65mins)
13.        Josh Jeffries   (GK)
14.        Shaquille Gwengwe                   (Ethan Taylor-65mins)
15.        Lewis Waterfield                     (Callum Baughan-85mins)
16.        Harrison Cable

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