Cirencester Town 1-0 Sholing

Scorers : Ross Gabriel 90+5

Date: Tuesday 28 September 2021, 7:45pm – Pitching In Southern League South Division One

Venue:  Corinium Stadium

Cirencester Town: Alexander Harris, Shayne Anson, Tom Handley, Joshua Nelmes, Jake Lee ©, Ellison Dunton, Joseph Shepherd, Joe Turley, Ben Whitehead (Ross Gabriel 79), Josh Grace-Parsons, Levi Irving.  Unused subs : Elliot Keightley, Aidan Bennett, James Mortimer-Jones, Kevin Sawyer

Yellow Card:  Ben Whitehead, Joseph Shepherd, Joshua Nelmes

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett (Stu Green 20), Charlie Wagstaffe, Dan Miller, Rob Nicholls, Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason, Dan Mason, Joe Adams, Jake Cope (Conor Whiteley 83). Unused subs : Mitch Byrne, Martin Buckland, Luke Deacon

Yellow Card : Brad Targett

Referee: Liam Beames   Assistants : Haydn Lavender & Graham McNulity

Attendance: 115 (approx 20 Sholing fans)

Man of the Match : Byron Mason

Boatmen tasted defeat for the first time in the league, in the most bitter way possible, conceding a 95th goal at Cirencester.  In a game played in torrential rain for all but the last 15 mins, the contest between two strong unbeaten sides, looked to be heading for a point apiece, until the dramatic stoppage time events, that also included a missed penalty by the home side.

Marv McLean missed out with an injury, so Brad Targett continued at left back. There was the return to action of Dan Miller, to partner Byron at the back in the only change from Saturday.   Despite the events in the country surrounding fuel and a lot of games allowed to be called off as a result, both Sholing & Cirencester's players & volunteers showed great committment to fulfill the fixture.  Even more praiseworthy, considering both clubs have big FA Cup games at the weekend.

The heavens were already open well before the kick-off, with torrential rain hammering down for hours, but with Cirencester having a 3G pitch, the playing surface was unaffected, despite rivers of water creating large puddles into the overworked drains pitchside. It was a lively start to the game, with the home side having the first sight of goal, but a shot was always rising. On 4 mins, Sholing created their first opening as Jake Cope broke through the backline, beat the keeper with his effort, but saw it ping back off the post.  Straight after, Brad Targett flew down the left wing and squared to the edge of the box for Dan Mason to hit a sidefoot effort wide when well placed.

Sholing continued to create the best chances and on 12 mins, Joe Adams low shot seemed goalbound inside the post, but a slight nick off the defender's legs took it wide of the upright.  From the corner, Miller arrived at the back post, but couldn't get his effort on target.   Boatmen were dealt a blow on 20 mins, when Ryan Cluett had to go off. Stu Green came on, with Claudio going to right back.  Meant we had two forwards filling in as full backs, but you'd never really know as both played excellently.

Cirencester were to end the half the stronger and Gosney was called upon to push away a fierce shot towards his near post.  That post was to be struck by the home side soon after, a flicked header from a freekick beat Gos all ends up, but came back off the upright and was cleared.   HT 0-0

The rain continued to lash down for the restart and despite the skiddy surface, Gosney showed great hands to hold onto a low shot.   Boatmen were finding it difficult to create chances, despite often getting into good positions around the box.  Whereas, so far this season, we have been selecting the right times to pass and right times to shoot, it wasn't happening so well tonight, with the Cirencester defence mopping up our attacks.

Same was also to be said for the Sholing defence, with Byron & Miller winning everything in the air and the entire team working hard to track back, close down and get in some good blocks.   The home side were gifted a freekick right on the edge of the Sholing box on 69 mins. It seemed as though Targett was the one who was fouled as ran out the area, but somehow, the official saw differently.  Cirencester's initial effort was blocked by the wall and the follow up charged down.

As we entered the final 15 minutes, it at least stopped raining and Sholing created their best chance of the half, with Stu Green fed the ball in the right side of the box, but Alex Harris was quick to come out and smother the shot.

Three minutes was indicated by the referee for added time and 2 mins into that, Cirencester were awarded a penalty.  For once, the home side got in behind the Sholing backline, with Gosney having to bring down the striker as he tried to round him.  The penalty was quickly set up, but Parsons put his spot-kick wide of the left post.   All eyes were on the referee as it seemed he would then blow up for full time, but we played on and in the 5th added minute, the goal came.  A throw-in from the right, into the Sholing box saw an unchallenged flick-on header and somehow the ball landed at the feet of Ross Gabriel to score from close range. 

A gutting way to lose after Sholing deserved something from the game. I expect Cirencester to be in the mix for promotion at the end of the season and by the standards we've set ourselves this season, we will be too.  FT 1-0

Thanks to Cirencester for their hospitality.

Next Game :  Bedfont Sports v Sholing -  FA Cup - Saturday 3pm

Photos courtesy of HR Media (swipe to view pics)