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Pitching In Southern League

Division 1 South

Cirencester Town  1 - 0  Highworth Town

 

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 final home league match of the season brought local rivals Highworth Town to The Corinium Stadium and after a tough encounter, befitting a local derby, The Centurions secured the 3 points and a place in the ‘play-off’ finals courtesy of a Jake Lee Penalty Kick.  

 

The starting eleven had one change from Saturday’s match at Bideford as Joe Shepherd sustained an injury and was replaced by the ebullient Josh Nelmes.

 

In terms of league positions and current form, based on the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table, the visitors sat in 10th place prior to this game and 17th respectively whilst Cirencester were 3rd and 5th but neither statistic has any bearing when local bragging rights are being contested, especially when there were four former Centurions in their squad.

 

The home side kicked-off playing towards The Arena end of the ground in perfect conditions for football, bright with a cool breeze, and opened with an attack down their left flank that ended with an ‘offside’ flag. 

This was soon followed by Tommy Anderson making a charging run down the left channel and a neat move involving Joe Turley, Shayne Anson and Ben Whitehead as they worked the right flank to supply Aidan Bennett.

As Cirencester worked the ball forward again – Ellis Dunton to Tom Handley, further down the left flank, who cut right before sending the ball to Levi Irving, on the centre front edge of the Highworth box, and he cleverly flicked it into the path of Bennett but his way through was quickly closed so he laid it back to Whitehead, who also laid it back to Josh Nelmes and in an attempt to stop further progress Luke Jones was injured in the resulting tackle leading to two early substitutions for the visitors.

Once the substitutions were made Handley sent the free kick towards the top left corner of the goal where ‘keeper Connor Johns made a remarkable save to push it over his cross-bar.

Almost immediately Sean Wood released Daniel Drewett to the left corner and he slipped the ball inside to Ashley Edenborough who was quickly surrounded and the danger cleared. 

A little later a Cirencester free kick was delivered to the right channel front edge of the Highworth box where Anderson headed left to Whitehead who fired over the bar. 

Around the mid-point of the half it became a midfield battle with neither side retaining the ball for long until Leon Morrison sent it to the left side edge of the Cirencester box where Edenborough collected and ‘won’ a corner kick. Wood delivered the kick to the near post where Jake Lee headed clear to Whitehead – left to a supporting Nelmes but his pass down the left channel was collected by Johns. 

Shortly afterwards a Highworth long ball down the right channel cleared the home defence for a stretching Edenborough to poke it wide of the far-left post. 

Cirencester responded as Bennett delivered a pass into the right channel of the Highworth penalty area for Anderson to collect and charge towards the by-line but en-route he was brought to ground and a Penalty Kick awarded. The reliable JAKE LEE stepped forward to smash his kick down the centre to open the scoring.  1-0. 

Five minutes later Cirencester produced a quick, incisive move as they reached the Highworth box from the right flank - Anderson exchanged passes with Bennett and then fed the return to Irving who back heeled it to the rampaging Anderson but as he pulled the trigger near the edge of the box his shot was blocked and he sustained an injury that required some attention.

As the interval loomed Cirencester were awarded a free kick, left channel – halfway, that Lee delivered to the edge of the Highworth box where Whitehead headed on to Handley and a corner kick followed that Anderson sent to the back post where it was collected by Bennett who clipped it from the right channel front edge of the box to the far-left post where Anderson headed over the bar.   

Half Time:   1-0

From the re-start Cirencester won the ball for Handley to launch a long cross-field pass to the right corner where Whitehead ‘won’ a corner kick that was safely caught by Johns at his near post.

A few moments later Cirencester were back as ‘keeper Harris launched the ball to the centre front edge of the Highworth box where Liam Haines’ attempted clearance went into orbit before coming down for Johns to catch at his left post under pressure from Whitehead. 

A couple of minutes later as Cirencester worked the ball forward Nelmes released Irving for a run down the left channel and as he reached the edge of the area he fired a firm shot at goal but an incoming challenge deflected it over Johns onto the cross-bar and out of play but unexpectedly a goal-kick was awarded.   

At this stage the home side were really pressing in search of a second goal – Handley to Irving who crossed from the left corner, cleared by Daniel Comer but recycled to the right flank as Joe Turley slipped the ball to Anderson and he supplied the overlapping Anson who crossed from the corner – corner kick that Whitehead delivered to the edge of the 6-yard box where Lee headed over. 

Around the hour-mark Highworth tested the home defence a couple of times with Harry Ayres prominent as he sent in crosses from the right flank – one of which yielded a corner kick from the right that Wood sent to the Penalty Spot where Callum McGhee-Parsons headed over the bar. 

Back came Cirencester as Bennett collected, 30 yards from goal, turned and drove down the centre towards the left channel of the visitor’s box where he passed to Whitehead who returned it to the left post for Bennett and Haines to enter an aerial duel that the defender put out of play but once again the Referee awarded a goal-kick. 

A few minutes later Handley played the ball into the Highworth box towards Anderson and he flicked it on to Bennett, a couple of yards from goal, and his instant touch was instinctively saved by Johns amazing reaction. 

At the mid-point of the half Cirencester won a corner kick from the left, after some nifty footwork from Handley on half-way enabled him to send the ball to the corner, and this was delivered to the back post where Dunton rose to head narrowly wide of the top right corner. 

As the game entered the final 15 scheduled minutes Cirencester were once again working the right corner as Anderson and Nelmes combined to release Jake Mawford to send a low cross through the Highworth 6-yard box without contact. 

With minutes to the final whistle Mawford clipped the ball down the left touchline, from halfway, for Irving to collect and with great skill he slipped his marker who brought him to ground as he moved past him – earning a Yellow Card in the process. 

Almost immediately Irving popped up on the right flank as Mawford, Michale Pook and Nelmes combined to release him for a run to the by-line where he cut back to shoot – tipped over by Johns. The resulting corner kick produced some ‘head-tennis’ before Nelmes curled his effort just wide of the top right corner from the edge of the box.

Full Time:   1-0

As anticipated a tough match with no quarter asked or given and as a result it never reached the heights of performance of recent matches as Highworth certainly made it difficult and Connor Johns produced an outstanding display of goal-keeping. 

 

Attendance:     286                                                      Referee:   Matthew Perry

 

Cirencester Town: 

 1.         Alex Harris
 2.        Shayne Anson
 3.        Tom Handley
 4.        Joe Turley<
 5.        Jake Lee     ©                                       32p
 6.        Ellis Dunton
 7.        Tommy Anderson
 8.        Josh Nelmes
 9.        Aidan Bennett             
10.        Ben Whitehead
11.        Levi Irving                                           

12.        Michael Pook                            (Ben Whitehead-68mins)                                 
14.        Jake Mawford                          (Aidan Bennett-68mins)                                   
15.        Jordan Morris
16.        Reegan Messenger
17.        Ross Gabriel

 

Highworth Town:

 1.        Connor Johns     ©
 2.        Oliver Case
 3.        Mani Roper
 4.        Liam Haines
 5.        Daniel Comer
 6.        Leon Morrison
 7.        Matthew Cheetham
 8.        Robert Dean
 9.        Ashley Edenborough 
10.        Daniel Drewett
11.        Luke Jones

12.        Sean Wood                               (Oliver Case-11mins)    
14.        Callum McGhee-Parsons         (Ashley Edenborough-46mins)
15.        Harry Ayres                               (Luke Jones-11mins)
16.        Daniel Grieve

 

 

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