7 August 2020
Fairford Town 0 Cirencester Town 3 (this was played on Tuesday 4 August)
The game started at an even tempo, with both sides getting a feel for the game in the early going, Fairford, who were playing their first match in over four months, held their shape well and despite not carving out too many chances kept the ball well – with Ian Herring in midfield seeing a lot of the action. Cirencester found the Fairford shape to be frustrating, but did carve out an early chance when Aiden Bennett’s cross-come-shot was headed away from danger by Ben Saunders. In the end Cirencester took the lead when James broke through, saw his shot saved by keeper Ben Mitchell and Bennett was on hand to break the deadlock.
However, Fairford could have hit back straight away when Ross Langworthy was put through but saw his looped effort just go over the bar. It was some sloppy defensive work by Fairford that eventually settled the game, with Cirencester's Roger James scoring two close range goals in 5 minutes early in the second half. The remainder of the game was pretty even with both teams taking the opportunity to blood new signings.
In respect of Covid issues, in line with FA regulations the game was played behind closed doors and the number of players in each dressing room was limited, all players & officials signed into the club for track & trace purposes. All the players were certainly glad to be back playing competitive football albeit under very strange circumstances.
Malvern Town 6 Lye Town 2
Malvern Town kicked off their pre-season schedule of matches last night with a home clash against Lye Town behind-closed-doors.
The early action saw some determined chasing from Matt Turner as the visitors’ ‘keeper cleared well outside his area.
At the other end a header from a corner was saved by Jordan Dibble as the visitors then dragged a low effort wide in their next attack.
As the visitors asked a few early questions, Dibble was winded as he collided with Jay Sauntson after coming to claim an inviting ball into the area.
We took the lead from the penalty spot in the tenth minute after Lewis Platt was brought down as he went to pull the trigger in front of goal. Turner stepped up and coolly converted.
With our tails up, a teasing cross from Sam Hunt was headed just wide by Joe Bates at the far post.
The visitors levelled matters on the quarter-hour mark when the number 20 beat the offside trap before slotting home.
Some sharp inter-play between the visitors’ number 20 and 7 saw the latter hit a low strike that was easy for Dibble to gather.
We regained the lead on 33 minutes when a sweeping move ended with a superb cross from Platt which was volleyed home with much aplomb by Turner to make it 2-1.
As half-time approached, Adam Sauntson blocked bravely to deny number 11 before the visitors’ number 7 fired well over as he raid stayed alive.
Speculative efforts at both ends failed to trouble the scoring as the opening period ended with us in front.
Having made nine changes at the break, we came out of the blocks with real purpose and within a minute of the restart, the visitors failed to clear as Trialist threaded through Harry Clark who made no mistake to make it 3-1.
We were able to further extend our lead when a corner wasn’t properly cleared and it allowed Clark to fire home powerfully.
Just a couple of minutes later the visitors reduced the arrears when a deep cross was turned home at the far post by number 12.
After seeing a header saved at one end, the visitors’ number 15 then did extremely well to deny Clark with a timely challenge as we launched a counter-attack.
A strike from the visitors’ number 20 was well watched by Dibble, whilst at the other end, the Febery brothers combined for Ben to fire home only for the offside flag to rule his effort out.
We didn’t have to wait long for our next goal to arrive, though, as some defensive hesitancy allowed Trialist to fire home for 5-2.
Some great running from Bryan Craven saw him feed Clark whose effort lacked the necessary power to trouble the ‘keeper.
As the clock ticked down, the visitors spurned a great chance when they fired over from close range after we failed to clear a corner and they were soon made to pay when a defence-splitting ball from Craven set Clark away and he did the rest to make it 6-2.
In the closing stages the visitors’ number 9 fired wide from a good position as our first pre-season action ended in a deserved victory over higher level opponents.