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Southern Premier League

Cirencester Town

Bevan (90)

Hednesford Town

Bell (63)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Anthony Maguire



Team Bath (H) 28.8.04

The Pitmen are once again denied points by a late, late goal for the second time in four games as Cirencester grab a last-minute equaliser to level tonight's game at the Coronium Stadium

Having recorded their first win of the season against Bedford Town on Saturday, player/manager Chris Brindley made just the one change to his side for tonight's trip to Gloucestershire as new signing Matt Turner was unavailable to travel due to injury and was replaced by Grant Beckett down the left flank

Cirencester's start to the new campaign had been impressive thus far with two and one draw to their name; a 2-0 win at Hemel Hempstead Town had left the Centurions in third place in the early league table going into tonight's game. Manager Brian Hughes, perhaps unsurprisingly, stuck with the same XI that had beaten Hemel at the weekend for tonight's return home

Cirencester made a bright start to proceedings and had the first sight at goal on a pleasant evening for the small crowd that had gathered for the game. Gareth Hopkins flicked on a long goal kick from goalkeeper Paul Thompson in the fifth minute and into the path of Scott Griffin, who in turn laid the ball off to Shaun Wimble. The midfielder took a touch and fired in a long-range effort that whistled just wide of Ryan Young's post

Three minutes later, a neat passing move involving Wimble and Darren Robison played Griffin in behind the Hednesford defence, only for a late offside flag on the far side to pull the striker back before he could pull the trigger

The Pitmen were also denied by a questionable offside flag in the twelfth minute as a fine pass from Anthony Maguire found new signing Andy Bell in on goal, but once again a flag was raised by the assistant and Bell was denied a shot at goal

The game became scrappy with both defences well on top for a spell in the first period as the tackles flew in. Referee Mr Palmer had words with Leon McSweeney in the eighteenth minutes for a wild challenge on Michael Jackson that flattened the Cirencester midfield man just inside the Pitmen's half

Alex Gibson made his first foray into the Cirencester half on twenty minutes, picking up Chris Gray's pass and sending over a fine low cross that was just out of reach of the incoming duo of Bell and McSweeney

Good hold-up play from the young striker Bell saw him bring Maguire into the game three minutes later as he played the ball back to the midfield man. Maguire left Wimble behind with a clever turn of pace but drilled his shot from twenty yards out well wide of goal

Maguire was back on the ball for the sky blue-clad visitors on twenty-seven minutes, dragging the ball back from Gary Wotton's tackle and sweeping the ball out to Beckett. The left-back-cum-winger stole half a yard on Neil Arndale and crossed to the far post, where McSweeney got underneath the ball and headed over the crossbar and into the small band of Hednesford supporters behind the goal

Another long kick from Thompson on the half-hour mark was allowed to bounce twice by some hesitant Hednesford defending and find Griffin in the process. The striker tried to work the ball into his right foot and was forced wide by skipper Lee Barrow, rushing his shot and firing wide

Thompson was alert to a through ball from the ubiquitous Maguire on thirty-five minutes, racing off his line to scoop the ball up before Bell could prod the ball past him from twelve yards out

Jackson was off-target for the hosts with six minutes of the first half remaining as his glancing header from a Mike Davis free-kick drifted well wide of Young's left-hand post

Maguire went closest to opening the scoring for the away side three minutes before the break as he made a mazy run from midfield that saw him drift past three players and shoot from eighteen yards out, only to see his shot beat Thompson but come back off the base of the post

The last notable action of the half saw Lee Williams deliver a fine corner kick into the Cirencester six-yard box, where Teesdale met the ball with a header that was cleared off the line by the alert Arndale

It had been a first period lacking in quality from both sides, with both teams guilty of wasting the chances presented to them through a lack of conviction and cohesion

The Pitmen were much more lively in the early stages of the second period as Bell went close to grabbing the opener just three minutes after the restart; Gibson made an overlapping run beyond Gray and crossed for the former York City striker, whose first-time shot was just the wrong side of Thompson's near post from just eight yards out

Craig Dean and Beckett - playing together in the team for the first time as it has previously been one or the other - linked up well down the left to provide Williams with space on fifty-two minutes. The burly midfield man took the ball five yards further forwards and struck a fierce shot that Thompson tipped over his crossbar for a corner kick to the Pitmen

Maguire's quickly-taken lofted free-kick three minutes found McSweeney inside the Cirencester penalty area, with the Irishman turning well and passing to Bell, who scuffed his shot into the ground and saw Thompson made an easy save

Young was also called into action on fifty-six minutes as he made absolutely sure that Davis's drifted cross towards Griffin was going over the crossbar and not dipping into the far corner of the net

Barrow made a late run into the Cirencester penalty area on fifty-nine minutes to meet a Williams free-kick from the left but headed into the side-netting from a tight angle just outside the six-yard box

The Pitmen got the reward for their enterprising start to the second half with the opening goal of the evening on sixty-three minutes; Dean fed Gray down the left flank, with the former Sutton Coldfield Town winger spotting the run of Bell and played the new signing in on goal with a fine pass. The striker took the ball in his stride and drive a powerful shot beyond the reach of Thompson and into the net from fifteen yards out to make it two goals in two games since his move to Keys Park

Back came the hosts, who went close to levelling matters again quickly on sixty-seven minutes as an inswinging free-kick from Arndale was headed wide of the target by Griffin

The Pitmen were content to play on the counter-attack and let Cirencester play in front of them, with Barrow making a timely challenge on Griffin on seventy minutes and send Gray on his way down the left wing. The winger brought the ball back inside and laid the ball off to Williams, who should have passed to Maguire but elected to fire well wide of goal

The home side made a couple of attacking changes in a bid to get themselves back into the game and maintain their unbeaten record so far this term; substitute Ben Fitch won a free-kick after tricking Gibson into fouling him twenty yards from goal and took the resultant kick, curling in a dangerous ball that Young watched just wide of his far post

Fitch was involved again for the Centurions on seventy-six minutes as he beat Williams and played Griffin into space down the right. The striker got the better of Teesdale and passed the ball to Wimble, whose curling shot was narrowly off-target

Young denied substitute Jody Bevan on eighty-one minutes with a one-handed save to push the former Weston-Super-Mare striker's low shot away from goal for a corner kick. From the resultant flag-kick, Jackson headed tamely into the hand of Young from twelve yards out

The Pitmen were dropping further and further back into their own half and allowing Cirencester more and more of the ball as the hosts cranked up the pressure. Robison's volley failed to test Young with seven minutes to go before Bevan's attempted pass to Griffin a minute later was cleared out of the six-yard box by the experienced Barrow

With two minutes remaining, Fitch and Bevan linked up to play the ball into the path of Wimble, whose goalbound effort from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area was deflected behind by Teesdale for a corner kick

You felt that there was an inevitability that the hosts were going to grab their equaliser, which duly arrived in added time as Jackson's delivery from a corner kick saw him pick out Bevan, who headed home unmarked from close range to earn the hosts a well-deserved point

On the balance of play, a point apiece is a fair result over the ninety minutes as neither side can lay claim to being the dominant force over the ninety minutes. The Pitmen return to Keys Park on Saturday when they play host to Team Bath in a first-ever meeting between the two sides

Cirencester Town: Thompson, Arndale, Halliday, Mayo, Jackson, Wotton, Robison, Wimble (Stanley 90), Hopkins (Bevan 76), Griffin, Davis (Fitch 70)      Subs Unused: Bird, Fraser

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson, Dean, Barrow ©, Teesdale, Williams, Maguire, Gray, Bell, McSweeney, Beckett      Subs Unused: Charie, Berks, Antrobus, Brindley, Evans

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