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GFA Senior Challenge Cup

Semi Final


Slimbridge  0 - 4  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 Centurions returned to Thornhill Park, where eleven days earlier their ‘12-game unbeaten run’ came to an end at the hands of Slimbridge, and following another wind affected encounter they knocked their hosts out of the GFA Senior Challenge Cup at the Semi-Final stage to face Yate Town of the Southern League – Premier Division South in the final.


Following their last-minute Penalty Kick victory over Barnstaple Town at the weekend Cirencester Town Manager, John Brough, made eight changes to the starting eleven for this match whilst there were also a number of absentees for the home side compared to their previous encounter.



With the wind behind them the home side kicked-off to attack down their right flank but Cirencester won the ball to counter as Nick Peare sent a raking pass to the left corner where Aidan Bennett chased it down to ‘win’ a corner kick that Ross Gabriel headed into the grateful arms of ‘keeper Lewis Adams at the near post.

As Slimbridge worked the ball down their left flank a free kick was awarded and delivered to the front edge of the Cirencester box where Peare headed clear.

Cirencester responded to work the ball down their left flank again with several players involved before Joe Turley switched play to the right flank for Nick Hancock to deliver a cross to the back post where it was headed over the target.

The action immediately switched to the other end of the pitch as Jamie Martin collected the ball on the left side edge of the visitor’s box before cutting right and sending a right footed shot narrowly wide of the top right corner.

A minute later, in this positive start from both sides, Hancock delivered a free kick from the right flank, 25 yards out, to the centre edge of the 6-yard box where NICK PEARE managed to bundle it over the line to open the scoring.  0-1.    

Once again Slimbridge countered to earn a corner kick from their left flank that was defended for Cirencester to counter – lost in midfield – but they were soon back as Gabriel sent a cross-field pass, from right to left, for Bennett to collect and send into the home box but the defence stood firm to repel the attack.

A few minutes later Josh Nelmes delivered a 40-yard pass from defence to the right front corner of the Slimbridge area to an unmarked Zack Kotwica who attempted to ‘chip’ the advancing Adams but the ‘keeper made the catch.

Slimbridge’s response was another terrific cross-field pass, from left to right, for Jordan Yeo to collect and cross. The cross was blocked and collected by Dan Ogbeifun who sent a dangerous pass towards the far left-post but it was not collected and resulted in a goal-kick.

Around the mid-point of the half Cirencester were pressing in earnest and during this period Whitehead fired over the bar from the edge of the home box and was released down the left channel by Bennett for a 1v1 with Adams but his resulting strike passed just wide of the right post.     

Having survived this period without conceding the home side began to press themselves and as the half was drawing to a close a cross from the left flank reached Martin who volleyed the ball just wide of the right post.

A few minutes later Raiyan Ahmed carried the ball into the left channel of the Cirencester box but as he cut back it was taken off him.

A Yeo cross from the right led to a corner kick from the left and then a move involving six players down their right flank released a charging Nathan Dennis to the edge of the Cirencester box where it came to an end.

On the stroke of half-time Ogbeifun fired a low shot at goal from just outside the visitor’s box but Kevin Sawyer saved comfortably.

Half Time:   0-1

After the re-start Cirencester began to press again but Slimbridge stood firm to counter as Rio Tomlin exchanged passes with Ogbeifun to supply Ben McLean who had his shot blocked but moments later Tomlin reached the left front corner of the Cirencester box resulting in a free kick to the hosts that McLean aimed towards the far-right post where Sawyer dived to save.

The home side were making a determined effort to level the score and when Dennis supplied Tomlin, in the left channel of the area, his shot was blocked resulting in a corner kick that Sawyer punched clear to launch a counter attack as Whitehead supplied Kotwica who took the ball to the right side edge of the home box where after some fast footwork he returned the ball to Whitehead who had his shot blocked and cleared. 

As the mid-point of the half approached Hancock supplied Bennett who evaded his marker to supply Whitehead but his shot on the turn, near the right post, was partially blocked for Adams to collect and shortly afterwards the forwards luck was illustrated when he collected a long ball from defender Nelmes to round Adams but when he shot, from a narrow angle near the left by-line, a covering Toby Lawrence cleared off the goal-line. 

Shortly afterwards Martin played a right footed volley pass, from left to right, to create room for a cross from the flank towards the near post where Shayne Anson cleared but it was returned into the box and when McLean burst forward onto the loose ball he sent his effort over the bar from a few yards.   

Within the next five minutes everything changed as Cirencester scored two goals in as many minutes.

Nick Hancock delivered the ball to the right front corner of the Slimbridge box where Gabriel collected and passed inside to Bennett who moved it on to Kotwica, goal-side of the Penalty Spot, who struck the bottom of the left post before LEVI IRVING pounced to force it into the net.  0-2. 

Two minutes later Peare worked his way into the Slimbridge box, evading a couple of challenges, to send a low cross to the front edge of the 6-yard box where ROSS GABRIEL produced a deft back-heel flick into the net.  0-3.  

Ten minutes from the final whistle Hancock and Gabriel repeated the move that led to Irving’s goal as Hancock once again clipped the ball down the right channel into the home box where ROSS GABRIEL produced a sublime piece of control to ‘kill’ the ball and tuck it inside the far-left post in one move. A sensational ‘goal of the game’.  0-4.   

Cirencester continued to press until the final whistle against their game opponents. 

Full Time:   0-4

An entertaining, hard-fought game but the two quick goals from the visitors in the second half was enough to secure a place in the final.



Attendance:    124                             Referee:       Richard Morris



   1.     Lewis Adams
   2.     Michael Ford
   3.     Rio Tomlin
   4.     Ben McLean
   5.     Nathan Dennis     ©
   6.     Toby Lawrence
   7.     Jordan Yeo       
   8.     Don Ogbeifun
   9.     Jamie Martin
  10.     Raiyan Ahmed
  11.     Marley Thomas

  12.     Ben Deakin
  14.     Liam Harper                              (Raiyan Ahmed-68mins)
  15.     Alex Shaw
  16.     Jack Lddicott


Cirencester Town:

    1.     Kevin Sawyer
    2.     Nick Hancock     ©
    3.     Jordan Morris
    4.     Nick Peare                                            7
    5.     Shayne Anson 
    6.     Josh Nelmes  
    7.     Zack Kotwica
    8.     Joe Turley
    9.     Ross Gabriel                                         73, 80
   10.    Ben Whitehead
   11.     Aidan Bennett 

   12.     Levi Irving                                 (Ben Whitehead-68mins)  71
   14.     Joe Shepherd
   15.     Ellis Dunton                                (Josh Nelmes-73mins)           
   16.     Tommy Anderson                       (Jordan Morris-83mins)                                
   17.     Alex Harris  (GK)

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