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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

Larkhall Athletic  0 - 3  Cirencester Town 



Click each photo to view a slideshow from the match

Match photos supplied by Becky Handley

Match report by Dave Pyzer

 

For their third successive league match on the road The Centurions made the comparatively short journey to Bath to face Larkhall Athletic and after a goal-less first half the match came to life in the second after Ben Whitehead opened the scoring and debutant Jake Mawford added two more to secure the 3 points.

 

Over the years there have been many hard-fought battles with The Larks, especially at their Plain Ham ground, and it was expected that this encounter would be no different as earlier in the season they obtained a 1-1 draw at The Corinium Stadium and also reached the Fourth Round of the FA Trophy. In terms of current form The Larks have recently defeated AFC Totton and drawn with Frome Town to sit in 11th place in the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table whilst Cirencester are 9th.

 

This match also provided a debut for Jake Mawford who signed for Cirencester from Barnstaple Town during the week. Earlier in the season he competed for Melksham Town against The Centurions (scoring the goal in the 1-1 draw at Melksham).

 

 

In perfect weather conditions the visitors kicked off to send Levi Irving to the left corner but his cross was headed out for a counter attack down the home sides right flank that eventually led to a free kick that was sent into the arms of custodian Alex Harris.

The home side continued to press for much of the opening quarter – but were unable to penetrate The Centurions defence. The best chance came as a result of a strong run from Joseph Hillard into the right channel of the Cirencester penalty area, followed by a cross to the back post where Brad Norris’s header was diverted for a corner kick that was defended.

Shortly before the mid-point of the half Tom Handley launched the ball from his left flank to the far post – resulting in a deflection and corner kick from the right that Jake Mawford delivered to the far post - leading to a Cirencester free kick near half-way. This in turn resulted in another free kick just outside the home penalty area that was blocked by the ‘wall’ but led to a period of pressure on the home defence followed by another corner kick and heavily disputed ‘back-pass’ and free kick which was played left to Ben Whitehead who fired narrowly wide of the right post.

Around the 30-minute mark Larkhall produced a flowing move involving several players that started with ‘keeper Shaun Semmens but ended with an ‘offside’ flag in the Cirencester penalty area.

Ten minutes from the scheduled interval Shayne Anson released Mawford down the right flank to the corner - yielding a corner kick and goal-mouth scramble but no goal.

The home side responded as Alex Lambert made a strong run to the right by-line but his cross was blocked by Jake Lee for a corner kick that Dale Evans played short to Norris who was quickly closed down leading to the danger being cleared but recycled back to the edge of the Cirencester box where a defender was fouled – ending the pressure.

Five minutes to the interval Irving clipped a ball to the edge of the home box where Josh Jones back-headed it for his ‘keeper to catch at full stretch.  

In the final minutes both sides attacked down their right flanks but they were defended comfortably.

Half Time:   0-0

Almost immediately from the re-start Irving received the ball to charge down the centre from half-way to the edge of the home box where he slipped it left for Whitehead to shoot – blocked.

A few minutes later Semmens launched a free kick to the right corner for Lambert and Hillard to combine and this eventually led to a free kick 10 yards inside the Cirencester half. Dale Evans delivered the kick to the far-left post where Harry Simons headed back across goal for Harris to catch. The Cirencester ‘keeper quickly punted the ball down the centre of the pitch for BEN WHITEHEAD to collect near the centre front edge of the home box. Two defenders closed him down but he evaded their challenges and moved right before tucking a right-footed shot inside the left post to open the scoring.  0-1.

The Larks immediately responded as Norris had his shot from the right channel of the Cirencester box blocked and a follow-up effort from Simons was caught by Harris.

Back came Cirencester as Irving headed the ball on to Whitehead, centre front edge of the home box, and he played it left to a supporting Joe Shepherd but his initial left footed shot was blocked by Semmens rebounding to the falling Shepherd who fired just over the top right corner of the home goal.

A couple of minutes later Nick Peare headed the ball towards the left corner for Irving to chase resulting in a throw-in for the visitors that led to Peare clipping the ball towards the penalty spot where Shepherd darted across, from right to left, to head narrowly over the top right corner of the home goal.

Cirencester were playing with confidence now as they mounted attacks, particularly down the left flank, and an exchange of passes between Irving and Whitehead resulted in a corner kick from the left followed by one from the right. This one was cleared to Joe Turley who promptly sent it back to the taker, JAKE MAWFORD, as he cut in from the corner to the right channel of the Larkhall penalty area where he ‘shimmied’ right, but went left, to unleash a fierce shot inside the near post to score on his debut.  0-2.

In reply Norris supplied Jack Pearson-Brown as he cut in from the left flank but his shot was blocked by Anson.

A couple of minutes later Norris galloped to the right corner pursued by Handley who blocked the cross for a corner kick that Evans delivered to the far post where Joel Smedley collected it and fed Pearson-Brown who slipped it inside to Simons but once again Anson blocked his cross.   

The ball was then worked down the Cirencester right flank to Whitehead who moved left along the front edge of the home box before slipping it further left to JAKE MAWFORD, left channel front edge of the box, and he produced a ‘step-over’ before cutting left to clip an accurate shot over the advancing Semmens and inside the far-right post.  0-3.

Into the final five scheduled minutes Lee delivered a free kick from 10-yards inside the Larkhall half, right channel, to the front left corner of the box where Shepherd headed back across goal for Evans to clear but it was recycled to Aidan Bennett, right side edge of the home box, and he played a pass across the box into the path of Shepherd as he supported to the penalty spot but his effort was wide of the left post.

Full Time:   0-3

A tough match with no quarter being asked or given and as a result the football was disappointing in a dour first half where neither side retained the ball for long with it constantly being launched.

Once Cirencester opened the scoring they settled and began to press with more composure to threaten the home goal.

 

Attendance:    186                             Referee:       Ollie Taylor 

 

Larkhall Athletic: 

   1.     Shaun Semmens
   2.     Joseph Hillard
   3.     Jack Goodall
   4.     Dale Evans
   5.     Daniel Restorick
   6.     Josh Jones     ©
   7.     Alex Lambert   
   8.     Harry Simons
   9.     Owen Humphries
  10.     Brad Norris
  11.     Ben Wych

  12.     Joel Smedley                              (Owen Humphries-75mins)
  14.     Jack Pearson-Brown                    (Ben Wych-65mins)
  15.     Tom Warren
  16.     Daniel Dodimead                         (Alex Lambert-74mins)
  17.     Christopher Humphries  (GK)

 

Cirencester Town:

    1.     Alex Harris
    2.     Shayne Anson
    3.     Tom Handley
    4.     Joe Turley
    5.     Jake Lee     © 
    6.     Ellis Dunton 
    7.     Joe Shepherd
    8.     Nick Peare
    9.     Levi Irving
   10.    Ben Whitehead                                     56
   11.    Jake Mawford                                      69, 78 

   12.     Michael Pook
   14.     Josh Nelmes
   15.     Tommy Anderson                       (Levi Irving-70mins)
   16.     Aidan Bennett                            (Ben Whitehead-85mins)                               
   17.     Nick Hancock

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