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The Emirates FA Cup 

First Qualifying Round  


Larkhall Athletic  0 - 2 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 travelled to familiar territory for their First Qualifying Round fixture in The Emirates FA Cup as they visited Plain Ham to face former league adversaries LARKHALL ATHLETIC – the scene of many a tough match – and it took a Levi Irving brace mid-way through the second period to decide the outcome.



Over the years there has been many a tough match between the two sides but the decision to transfer Cirencester to the Central Division looked like denying the Roman strongholds their traditional competitive encounter and then along comes The Emirates FA Cup to throw them together again for another battle.


Neither side is enjoying the best of starts to the new campaign as they have both recorded a lonely 1 point from four matches in their respective Divisions of the Southern League and sit in 19th place in their respective league tables. 

It can only get better and today could be the start.


The Cirencester starting eleven had a couple of changes from the side that took to the pitch at Kidlington on August Bank Holiday Monday as Joe Shepherd returned, following the concussion he suffered after the first match against Clevedon Town, and there was the sight of a new recruit with Adulai Sambu, a Cheltenham Town scholar, joining on loan.  



The visitors kicked off proceedings playing towards the Clubhouse end of the ground and into a strong wind as Ellis Dunton sent the ball to the left flank where Levi Irving headed it inside towards Jake Lee, who was once again playing up front, but the header was intercepted and cleared to be returned for home ’keeper James Walker to punt down the pitch but due to the wind it sailed out for a goal kick to Cirencester. 

When The Larks returned to the Cirencester end a couple of minutes later it was a more measured approach as a cross-field pass, from right to left, found Jaden Brown who laid it back to Tom Bradbury to send into the Cirencester Penalty Area where it was cleared unceremoniously. 

During the next few minutes Cirencester mounted a couple of attacks that brought Adulai Sambu into the game as Irving squared the ball to him near the right front corner of the Larkhall box but he was forced wide, laying the ball back to Jordan Lymn who crossed into the box where it was cleared to be recycled as Jake Lee supplied Sambu who crossed it to the back post where Joe Shepherd laid it back to Dunton, right to Joe Turley, forward to Sambu, back to Lymn and a cross to the far post that was defended. Positive signs from The Centurions. 

Another flowing move down their left flank – Lee to Shepherd to Irving in the corner ended with a free kick to Cirencester that Turley delivered into the box for Reegan Messenger to head back to Shepherd who attempted an ambitious overhead kick, from the edge of the Penalty Area, that was wide of the right post. 

Around the ten-minute mark a bout of ‘head tennis’ took place just inside the Cirencester half that ended as a home player ‘toe-poked’ the ball wide of the right post. 

With the strong wind against them Cirencester were working hard to take the game to their hosts who were defending the resulting crosses well and countering quickly but struggling to measure their passes due to the wind behind them.

Shortly before the mid-point of the half Centurions custodian, Alex Harris, delivered the ball to the left front corner of the home box where Lee, Irving and Jordan Morris combined for the latter to lay the ball back to a supporting Shepherd who sent a low, left footed drive towards the left post where Walker produced a solid save.

Around the mid-point of the half Larkhall mounted a couple of attacks down their right flank - the first ended when the pass was too long resulting in a goal-kick and the second a free kick that was caught by Harris. 

A few minutes later Wayne Nderemani embarked on a run to the right corner before sending the ball across to Bradbury, forward to Brown, right towards Shea Mannings where he was crowded out on the centre front edge of the Cirencester box for the danger to be cleared. 

The Cirencester response was to work the ball to their left corner and from the resulting throw-in Irving, Shepherd, Irving again and Lee all had shot at the target blocked with the threat ended by an ‘offside’ flag.

This was soon followed by another Morris run to the front edge of the home box and an Irving header that was wide of the right post. 

Into the final few minutes of the half and Brad Norris played the ball to Nderemani, back to Brown to shoot but Harris was able to gather comfortably. 

Ellis Dunton then released Sambu for a run with a 40-yard pass to the left corner but the youngster over-ran the ball on the hard, bumpy surface for a goal-kick.

After the whistle had been blown, signalling the interval, an aggrieved Mannings decided to take matters into his own hands and was rewarded with a Yellow Card following the altercation.

Half Time:   0-0 

A couple of minutes after the re-start Cirencester reached the left corner as Lee supplied Irving - resulting in a throw-in that Dunton volleyed to the Penalty Spot where Lee slipped it to Sambu who produced a sharp turn and shot in the right channel, 15 yards out, that was narrowly wide of the right post.

When Larkhall worked the ball down their left flank it was met with stern resistance as Lymn and Josh Nelmes combined to deny them progress with the ball being cleared down Cirencester’s left flank to the corner for a free kick to be awarded. It was cleared to the right flank and another free kick awarded that Walker caught.

Shortly afterwards Turley sent the ball from a central position, 35 yards out, to the left channel front edge of the home box where Irving headed it back across the box for Messenger to fire just over the bar.

A few minutes later Sambu displayed some of his skill as he burst into the box from the right flank to cross with his left foot to the far post but just too high for an incoming Messenger to make contact.

On the hour Turley slipped a clever pass down the right channel for Lee to chase – prompting Dan Restorick to cover and clear for a corner kick that bobbed about near the Penalty Spot before Meesenger attempted a lob that was caught by Walker.

The resulting punt downfield was collected by Dunton who instantly lobbed the ball back towards goal and with the wind behind it a back-pedalling Walker just managed to push it over his cross-bar. 

As the mid-point of the half approached Dunton, a few yards inside the home half, headed a clearance back towards goal and once again the wind assisted to drop it inside the Penalty Area where LEVI IRVING darted through to slip it under an advancing Walker and into the net.  0-1. 

Five minutes later LEVI IRVING scored his second when a Turley free kick was headed on by Lee to Shepherd, near the Penalty Spot, who headed on for LEVI IRVING to ghost in and slip inside the right post.  0-2. 

The home side responded as a five-pass move worked the ball from right to left but as they threatened the visitors box the danger was cleared. 

The Larks were soon back again as a 25-yard shot from Max Williams, left channel, was gathered by Harris at his left post. 

As the final whistle loomed Sambu showed great commitment to the cause as he chased back and forth to close down Walker and Bradbury with the result being a throw-in to Cirencester as Walker was hurried into a clearance. 

Into the final minutes and a Norris shot was deflected for a corner kick that was headed clear to be recycled but the threat eased as Larkhall played the ball back to Walker. 

Full Time:   0-2 

Another competitive game and a much improved team performance from The Centurions – that’s more like it!!!!.


Attendance:    ???                             Referee:       George Enever 


Larkhall Athletic: 

   1.     James Walker
   2.     Owen Taylor
   3.     Tom Bradbury
   4.     Rob Hobbs
   5.     Dan Restorick     ©
   6.     Sam Boulton
   7.     Jaden Brown     
   8.     Carlo Garside
   9.     Shea Mannings
  10.     Brad Norris
  11.     Wayne Nderemani

  12.     Niall Lovelock
  14.     Harry Brock
  15.     Max Williams                              (Carlo Garside-67mins)
  16.     Tom Ellis-Ricketts                       (Jaden Brown -13mins)
  17.      Jake Jackson                             (Shea Mannings-76mins)


Cirencester Town: 

    1.     Alex Harris
    2.     Jordan Lymn
    3.     Jordan Morris
    4.     Joe Turley
    5.     Josh Nelmes  
    6.     Ellis Dunton 
    7.     Adulai Sambu
    8.     Reegan Messenger
    9.     Jake Lee     ©
   10.    Joe Shepherd
   11.     Levi Irving                                            65, 70 

   12.     Kenneth Mills                             (Levi Irving-83mins)  
   14.     Frankie Johnson
   15.     Ross Gabriel
   16.     James Mortimer-Jones                                   
   17.     Louie Barnfather (GK

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