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Pitching In Southern League 

Division 1 Central 


Cirencester Town  0 - 1  Kidlington FC


Match report by Dave Pyzer



The second league match of 2024 brought Kidlington to The Talent Hire Stadium and a change in formation resulted in a disjointed and frustrating performance from The Centurions as they struggled to get into their stride against determined, hard-working opponents.



In terms of league positions and current form prior to the match – Kidlington sat in 14th place in the league table with 20 points from 18 games played whilst Cirencester were in 5th place with 32 points from 20 games played.

Examination of the ‘6-Match Form Guide’ table reveals that Kidlington have secured 4 points and Cirencester 13 points from their last 6 games with Kidlington sitting in 17th place and Cirencester 2nd place in the relevant table.

When the sides met at Yarnton Road, in early November, they produced an entertaining match that resulted in a 4-3 victory for today’s visitors.


Starting Eleven – Manager, John Brough, made a change to the formation of the team and two changes to the starting eleven, compared to the previous match against Kings Langley, with Ben Whitehead joining George Peare up front, Harry Burns moving to the flank and Reegan Messenger returning in the centre of the midfield.

Willem Pooley and Luca Robinson took seats on the bench alongside Jonny Dennis, Jordan Morris and James Mortimer-Jones.



Cirencester kicked off, playing towards The Arena end of the ground, by sending the ball back to Nick Peare who launched it across the pitch towards the right corner and as they pressed a pass was intercepted enabling Mekhal Bessasa-Grant to charge down the visitors left flank to the corner where he sent the ball across the goalmouth and out for a goal-kick. 

Five minutes into the match Ben Whitehead slipped the ball right to George Peare who played it into the right corner for Reegan Messenger to collect and cross to the back post where Felix Miles tucked it into the net but an ‘offside’ flag was raised as the cross was delivered. 

A similar flag was raised a couple of times in the next few minutes against the visitors and on two other occasions when they did threaten home custodian Stuart Neslon caught the ball cleanly.

Whilst the game so far was generally a ‘scrappy’ affair Kidlington were having some success as Bessasa-Grant slipped the ball down the left flank for George Cowmeadow to chase and cross from the by-line – Nick Peare diverted the cross over the home crossbar and eventually cleared the danger following a second corner kick from the right.

As Cirencester mounted some pressure Aidan Bennett delivered a deep cross to the far-right post where it was defended and quickly launched downfield for Owen James to collect near the right front corner of the home box and he wasted no time in firing a fierce strike at the target that Nelson parried behind for a corner kick. 

Around the mid-point of the half Cirencester threatened as Whitehead had a low shot saved by Jack Hopwood who was also involved in an aerial challenge with Nick Peare following a corner kick that resulted in a goal-kick. 

Within minutes the action was at the other end of the pitch as Jack Gardner sent the ball to the left corner for Bessasa-Grant to collect and lay back into the path of Gardner as he supported to the left channel front edge of the home box – firing wide of the left post. 

As the half entered the last ten scheduled minutes Cirencester provided a glimpse of their potential as Messenger won the ball on the edge of the centre circle and moved it on to George Peare who slipped it right to Harry Burns, right again to Will Christopher, as he overlapped towards the right corner, before crossing to the back post where the incoming support just failed to make contact.

Almost immediately Christopher returned to the right corner to deliver another cross to the back post that bounced up above Miles enabling Jack Smith to head back to Hopwood. 

Kidlington responded and as they pressed Bennett stretched to cut-out a pass, collapsing to the ground in the process, and had to be replaced. 

The final threat from the visitors before the interval came as Bessasa-Grant slipped the ball for an advancing Cowmeadow to collect on the left side edge of the home box before cutting right and shooting over the top right corner of the target. 

Cirencester finished the half by working the ball from left to right as Whitehead combined with Miles on the left, inside to Joe Turley, right to Christopher, forward to Burns who returned it to Christopher as he advanced to the corner to cross – corner kick. Jack Smith headed it away to be recycled to Christopher in the corner and back to Jake Lee - his cross being cleared by Ben Richards. 

Half Time:   0-0 

Immediately from the re-start the ball was sent down the left channel for Nelson to collect and launch to the right corner for Whitehead’s shot to be diverted for a corner kick that was cleared to Burns, fed to Miles and cleared again to a lurking Nick Peare who had his right-footed shot deflected for another corner kick that was headed over by Lee at the back post. 

Back came Cirencester as a Whitehead effort from the edge of the box was diverted for yet another corner kick that was soon followed by a Turley pass down the centre to Whitehead who slipped it to George Peare but he was unable to control and Hopwood was able to collect.

As Kidlington worked the ball forward they were awarded a free kick, right channel – 35 yards out, that Gardner delivered to the left channel of the home box where it was headed away to be collected by BEN RICHARDS, left channel – 20 yards out, who instantly unleashed a firm low drive that passed through the mass of players and inside the far-right post.  0-1. 

Cirencester responded positively to the setback as they worked the ball forward for another corner kick – defended, and as the hour mark approached a long ball from the Kidlington defence was collected by Felipe Barcelos near the left corner. The former Centurion cut right into the home box and unleashed a fierce shot that Nelson parried to be cleared downfield and on to Miles who had his shot blocked. 

During the next five minutes Cirencester pressed and Kidlington countered for Bessasa-Grant and Cowmeadow to clip balls into the home box for Nelson to catch. 

Shortly before the hour mark Whitehead worked his way along the front edge of the Kidlington box, slipped the ball to Nick Peare and collected the return as he darted into the left channel of the box where Hopwood came forward with the two of them falling to the ground whilst the ball rolled along the front edge of the goal-line to be cleared by Smith.

The home side continued to push forward as Luca Robinson reached the right by-line to cross towards Jonny Dennis at the back post but Zarius Edwards-Giraud intervened to head away. A Cirencester free kick soon followed but this was driven straight to Hopwood.

As the game entered the final scheduled 15 minutes Kidlington defended resolutely and launched the ball downfield for the willing and pacey Bessasa-Grant to chase.

Ben Whitehead then broke free for a run down the centre to the edge of the Kidlington box but as he entered it he struck his shot wide of the advancing Hopwood and the right post.

Try as they might, and they certainly did, the home side could not find a way through a determined, tall, uncompromising Kidlington defence that relieved the pressure by launching the ball clear for Bessasa-Grant to chase.  

Just before the game entered ‘added-time’ Cirencester came close to scoring when Dennis delivered a cross to the far-right post for George Peare to plant a firm header against the crossbar. 

Despite much possession and pressure in the ‘added’ eight minutes Cirencester were unable to find the back of the net and Kidlington secured the three points to complete the double over their neighbours (relatively speaking in this Division). 

Full Time:   0-1 

A difficult match for Cirencester as their hard-working opponents did not allow them the time and space they wanted, particularly in the first half. 

To their credit The Centurions kept trying until the final whistle but failed to convert their limited chances.



Attendance:    144                            Referee:       Charlie Bullock 



Cirencester Town:

    1.     Stuart Nelson
    2.     Will Christopher
    3.     Aidan Bennett
    4.     Joe Turley
    5.     Jake Lee     ©
    6.     Nick Peare
    7.     Harry Burns
    8.     Reegan Messenger
    9.     George Peare
   10.    Ben Whitehead
   11.     Felix Miles 

   12.     Willem Pooley              
   14.     John Dennis                             (Felix Miles-69mins)
   15.     Luca Robinson                           (Reegan Messenger-69mins)
   16.     Jordan Morris                          (Aidan Bennett-44mins)  
   17.     James Mortimer-Jones



    1.     Jack Hopwood
    2.     Zarius Edwards-Giraud
    3.     George Cowmeadow
    4.     Samuel Bailey
    5.     Jack Smith     ©
    6.     Benjamin Richards                                52 
    7.     Mekhal Bessasa-Grant
    8.     Jack Gardner
    9.     Felipe Bogo Barcelos
   10.     Owen James
   11.     Piers Walton 

   12.     Lochlan Colquhoun                    (Piers Walton-87mins)
   13.     Domenico Roggero   (GK)
   14.     Charlie Wells
   15.     Luke Smith

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