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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South


Cirencester Town  0 - 1  Willand Rovers


Click each photo to view a slideshow from the match

Match photos supplied by

Graham Hill (left) and Becky Handley (right)

Match report by Dave Pyzer


The Centurions returned to The Corinium Stadium after four successive ‘away’ games and were defeated by a resilient Willand Rovers side that survived a strong Penalty Kick appeal late in the first half and a barrage after they had scored the only goal of the game early in the second period – and in the process became the first side to defeat The Centurions in the league on their home patch.


Coming into the game the visitors sat 13th in the Division table with 33 points from 30 games whilst their hosts were 2nd with 62 points from the same number of games, but in terms of current form Willand had only obtained 1 point from their last 6 games whilst Cirencester had obtained 10 points.


Following the victory at Larkhall Athletic last week the home starting eleven was unchanged.



The visitors kicked off playing towards The Shed end of the ground in perfect conditions for football and it soon became evident that they relished the challenge before them – given the statistics mentioned above – as they quickly closed down their opponents from the start.

Barely three minutes from kick off the home side had the first pot at goal as Ben Whitehead latched onto a loose ball in the right channel, 30 yards out, turned and fired over the bar. 

In response the visitors worked the ball down their right flank to be awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area that Will Richards drove into the ‘wall’ but it was soon recovered and worked for another free kick to be awarded some 45 yards from goal, right channel. This time it was moved to the left flank then back again but an ambitious long ball resulted in a goal-kick for Cirencester. 

A couple of minutes later Cirencester were awarded the first corner kick of the match after Joe Turley had released Levi Irving into the left corner. The young striker had already been heavily involved in working the ball from left to right as he combined with Jake Mawford.

Before the 15-minute mark Willand mounted a couple of attacks to the edge of the home box as Richards combined with Benjamin Griffith to release Bailey Kempster who was adjudged to be ‘offside’ and Jack Rice Lethaby played the ball down the right channel towards Jack Veale but it was intercepted.

Shortly before the mid-point of the half Tom Handley delivered a free kick from 40 yards towards the right post where Nick Peare headed over and this was soon followed by a couple of corner kicks as several players combined down the left flank for the first and Irving ‘won’ the second after collecting a clipped pass to the side edge of the visitor’s box from Ellis Dunton – both corner kicks were comfortably dealt with by the Willand defence. 

When the visitors approached the edge of the home box the threat was cleared and fed down the left channel for Whitehead to shoot – blocked. 

A couple of minutes later Joe Shepherd’s strong tackle, 10 yards inside his own half, to win the ball enabled Shayne Anson, Turley and Mawford to work the right flank before switching to the left for Peare, Irving and Handley to combine – eventually leading to a Whitehead shot that was just wide of the left post. 

Cirencester were probing at this stage and one period of build-up play, nine minutes from the scheduled interval, led up to the most contentious issue of the match.  

A superbly weighted pass down the left flank from Handley released Irving to the corner but his cross was behind the supporting Whitehead and the danger cleared to Dunton who slipped it to Peare, and he in turn played it to the right channel, half-way, for Jake Lee to send it towards the Penalty Spot where Irving jumped to head. As he did Willand ‘keeper George Burton arrived late for the aerial challenge and succeeded in punching Irving in the side of his head. This brought strong appeals for a Penalty Kick from the home players and supporters that Referee Graham McNulty rejected whist the young striker received treatment. 

A few minutes before the interval Anson latched onto a cross from Handley but his shot was deflected for a corner kick that resulted in a near post header from Lee being cleared. 

In the ‘added minute’ Griffith played a pass into the left channel of the home penalty area from a central position near the edge of the box for Rice-Lethaby to chase but home custodian Alex Harris spotted the danger and came out to clear. 

Half Time:   0-0

From the re-start Cirencester worked the ball down their left flank with the eventual cross being caught at full stretch by Burton. 

Willand then worked the ball down their left flank to the corner where a clever piece of play as Kempster ‘chipped’ the ball between two defenders to Rice-Lethaby, inside the area, and he slipped it right to Griffith who shot over the bar from 12-yards, left channel. 

A couple of minutes later Willand threatened again as Dunton was pushed whilst attempting to head the ball enabling it to reach the right side edge of the home box to be crossed to the left of the Penalty Spot where Veale saw his effort blocked by Anson and cleared but they were soon back again to obtain a corner kick from the left flank that was sliced over the bar for one from the right. The kick was taken by Rice-Lethaby and cleared the defenders at the near post to strike ADAM POOLE on his thigh and rebound into the net at the back post.  0-1.

Within a couple of minutes Whitehead had a shot blocked and Turley fed Tommy Anderson on the right touchline and he slipped the ball inside to Peare who struck a fierce shot from 25 yards over the bar.

Cirencester were pressing and probing in search of a goal and attacked down their left flank before switching to the right where Anson clipped the ball towards the near post as Shepherd darted towards it to send a looping volley over his shoulder and onto the top of the net.

Just after the hour mark, and following a period of possession, the ball reached Handley on the left flank and his cross towards the far post was headed back across goal to Lee who slipped it left to Shepherd, left channel – 12 yards out, but his left footed volley was wide of the target.   

Another period of possession followed but no end product and at the mid-point of the half a Willand punt down the centre of the pitch led to a free kick in a dangerous position for the home side as Griffith was adjudged to have been obstructed on the centre front edge of the box whilst attempting to chase after the kick. Jack Rice-Lethaby stepped up and drove the kick towards the right post where Harris dived to push it around the post for a corner kick that was cleared to Richards on the edge of the box who fired over the bar.

Into the final 15 minutes and a low cross from Anderson towards Mawford was cut out by Burton. 

This was followed by a Handley free kick to the far post being challenged by Dunton falling to Shepherd but his shot was pushed wide by Burton for a corner kick and he then denied Shepherd again as he pushed out his volley from the corner kick. 

Almost immediately Lee sent a low pass down the centre for Whitehead to collect, turn and run at the visitor’s defence and as he approached the box he shot narrowly wide of the right post. 

Into the final 5-scheduled minutes and Aidan Bennett released Anderson into the left channel of the Willand box – cross to the back post for Josh Parsons to collect on the by-line but his cross was cut out and cleared. 

A couple of minutes later Burton was scurrying across his box as Cirencester probed in search of an opening and his defenders were throwing themselves in the way to block. 

As the 90-minute mark was reached Handley delivered another free kick to the Penalty Spot where Lee headed on and Parsons darted forward to volley over the bar from just outside the 6-yard box. 

Full Time:   0-1

Not the most fluent of games but certainly one of determination from the visitors who defended resolutely. 

Cirencester had plenty of possession but struggled to make it count.


Attendance:     221                                                       Referee:   Graham McNulty


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
11.        Jake Mawford                                     

12.        Aidan Bennett                          (Jake Mawford-75mins)
14.        Tommy Anderson                      (Levi Irving-53mins)                            
15.        Nick Hancock
16.        Josh Parsons                            (Nick Peare-64mins)
17.        Josh Nelmes


Willand Rovers:

 1.         George Burton
 2.        Josh Searle     ©
 3.        William Richards
 4.        Adam Poole                                          53
 5.        Ellis Johnson
 6.        Ryan Guppy
 7.        Jack Veale
 8.        Glenn Gould
 9.        Benjamin Griffith 
10.        Jack Rice-Lethaby
11.        Bailey Kempster

12.        Lewis Wilson                            (Jack Veale-68mins)    
14.        Callum Chivers
15.        Ian Patchett
16.        David Steele
17.        Russell Jee

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