Winchester City 1-3 CirencesterTown

 

 

 

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Winchester City Football Club

Next Game : Paulton Rovers (a) | Southern League Div One South | Sat 4th December 3pm

Winchester 1 Cirencester 3

By Malcolm Clarke

 

In a match affected by a strong wind throughout Winchester were beaten 3-1 by a Cirencester team who moved into fourth place, but in a tightly congested division only four points separate third to ninth position, with Winchester in eighth, with only third placed Paulton Rovers whom they play on Saturday having scored more league goals than them. Cirencester who have lost only two league games this season and earlier in the campaign won through three rounds of the F A Cup.

Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up from the previous Saturday;s win at Bideford with Kieran Douglas returning from injury recalled to the substitutes bench.

Early on from a free kick from Jamie Barron almost got a decisive touch from Dan Walster, while at the other end Bradley Gray put in a cross that no-one could get a decisive touch to. Winchester however came close to taking the lead on a couple of occasions with Warren Bentley putting through Ollie Balmer whose effort was well saved by Cirencester goalkeeper Alexander Harris at the expense of a corner. Warren Bentley also came close with a header, while Charlie Philpott had to make a couple of saves as Cirencester came more into the game as the half progressed.

In the 42nd minute Winchester took the lead in the 42nd minute when great persistence by Jamie Barron after his first effort was blocked enabled him to set up Ollie Balmer for the opener. However on the stroke of half time Cirencester drew level when a free kick was played into the Winchester box and Cirencester captain Jake Lee was on hand to score. This goal was a great disappointment for Winchester as not only did it come just before the break, but it was clear that they had the wind advantage in the first half and it would be harder for them in the game's second period.

Boosted by the late first half goal and with the wind advantage Cirencester started the second half the brighter of the two teams and Levi Irving hit the woodwork and Charlie Philpott was called into action a couple of times. Winchester bought on Kieran Douglas for van Walster, but Cirencester scored the all important second goal in the 57th minute when Joshua Grace-Parsons scored following a good team move involving four players.

Winchester responded by making an attacking substitution with forward Oli Bailey replacing midfielder Ollie Griggs and soon afterwards they had a good chance to level the scores when Jamie Barron set up Ollie Balmer whose effort was wide, but in fairness the wind conditions meant that it was not easy to direct shots on target.

Winchester bought on Craig Feeney for Simba Mlambo, but soon afterwards Cirencester had a great chance to increase their lead, but following a foul by Josh McCormick on Irving a penalty was awarded for a foul by Josh McCormick on Irving, but Michael Pool shot wide from the penalty spot. Winchester almost made them pay for this when Oli Bailey was only fractionally away from getting a decisive touch to a cross.

However Cirencester did get score the third when Grace-Parsons scored his second after being set up by Irving. Winchester's hopes of getting back in the game received a further setback when Kieran Douglas received a straight red card. Winchester to their credit tried hard to get back in the game, but it was always going to be difficult being two goals down to a good team with only 10 men.

Generally though it was a good competitive game between two decent teams. Cirencester have a dedicated following who have supported the club through thick and thin and an experienced manager in John Brough who has previously won the division with Cinderford.

There was a crowd of 143 who braved the cold weather to watch this game and they included Eastleigh Assistant Manager Jason Bristow and the club's goalkeeping coach Ross Flitney, with the Eastleigh match called off due to issues with the electricity. With Philpott dual registered with Eastleigh he has had the benefit of Flitney's coaching.

Ali Henderson produced some excellent food after the game for both sets of players to enjoy and the hard work behind the scenes of Ali plus the efforts of Judy Malone, Sally Statham and Margaret Moody is an important part of the Winchester matchday experience.

On Saturday Winchester are away to Paulton Rovers.

Bideford 1 Winchester City 2

By Malcolm Clarke

Winchester had a good band of supporters travelling on the coach for the away fixture with Bideford and emerged 2-1 winners. It was Winchester's first win in seven attempts against Bideford having lost three and drawn three of the previous six matches between the clubs.

Bideford are currently in the lower half of the table, but in their last home match recorded a victory against a Larkhall team who have progressed through three rounds of the f A Trophy and they have an experienced manager in Sean Joyce who hes been at the helm since 1998 and as a player played for both Doncaster and Torquay. Manager Craig Davis afterwards described the 2-1 win as a great result on one of their longest trips of the season even if they did not quite hit the heights of the previous week when they beat the highly rated Bristol Manor Farm 5-1.

Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up of Philpott, McCormick, King, Griggs, Walster, Nolan, Bailey Smith, Barron, Bentley, Balmer, Mlambo with Bailey, Callaghan, Flooks, Feeney and Bark on the bench.

Winchester took the lead on the half hour when a penalty was awarded for a foul by home goalkeeper Adam Seedhouse-Evans on Ollie Balmer and this was converted by Warren Bentley. Ollie Balmer came close to adding a second four minutes later when he came close to getting a decisive touch to a cross, but the same player made no mistake two minutes later when he pushed the ball past the home goalkeeper and his shot crept into the goal.

Before half time Seedhouse-Evans made a good save from Mlambo and Balmer shot over as Winchester finished the first half strongly. However Bideford's best spell of the game was before the goals went in with Charlie Philpott making a save to deny Jack Calver and making an even better save to keep out a Louie Slough header. Lewis Wilson also nit the crossbar with an overhead kick.

During the second half Winchester introduced Rob Flooks, Oli Bailey and Craig Feeney as substitutes and although Charlie Philpott had to make a good save from Mattie Buchan there were not many shots on target during the second half. Bideford did score a consolation goal in the third minute of added on time when Ben Wood's cross was headed home by Lewis Wilson, but that did not alter the final result and it was another valuable three points for Winchester whose next match is at home to Cirencester on Tuesday.

 

Winchester 5 Bristol Manor Farm 1

By Malcolm Clarke

Winchester's determination to attract their younger element and their families and were rewarded with a best attendance of the season of 303 and those welcome additions to the home crowd certainly saw plenty to help them retain their interest in the team as four goals in the final 15 minutes enabled Winchester to complete a 5-1 win with four goals in the last 15 minutes against a team that went into the match third in the table. The way that some of the fans shook the hands of the players as they left the field was certainly a good sight to see.

Bristol Manor Farm recently signed Jake Gosling, a player who has played 12 times and scored 2 goals for the national team of Gibraltar as well as having almost 100 appearances to his name \at either League 2 or National League level. Their bench contained Kyle Tooze, Ben Bament and Stuart Tovey who have proved themselves very competent players at this level of football.

Winchester gave a starting berth to club legend who was making his first league appearance for the club since leaving the club at the end of the 2015/16 season where his goalscoring exploits won him several awards. He replaced Adam Grange in the starting line-up, while the other change from the previous Saturday saw pat Nolan replacing the injured Kieran Douglas to form a new central defensive partnership with Dan Walster, but the pair made some important blocks in a game played at a high tempo. With Oii Bailey, Craig Feeney and Liam Callaghan on the bench Winchester had certainly of replacement options up front, but their only other substitute was goalkeeper Ryan Pryce.

Early on Max Smith put a cross that no-one could get a touch to, while at the other end Gosling forced a save from Charlie Philpott with Michael Bryant's follow up header being just over. Winchester however took the lead in the 12th minute when following a great team move Ollie Balmer set up Ollie Griggs to open the scoring.

Ollie Balmnr had a shot deflected for a corner, but at the other end Michael Bryant had a shot well saved by Philpott. The match was played at a good tempo and Patrick Nolan usually a midfielder made some important interceptions and looked at home in his new role. There were also some good passing moves that utilised the whole pitch as Winchester ked 1=o0 at the interval.

Winchester started the second half brightly with Jamie Barron setting up Max Smith whose effort was saved. However Owen Howe cam close with a header to levelling the scores.

From a cross from Dan King Simba Mlambo was able to get a touch, but was not quite able to get his effort on target. However Bristol Manor Farm equalized in the 63rd minute when Josh Ford headed home a corner.

Seven minutes after the goal Bristol Manor Farm were reduced to 1o men when Jayden Neilsen was given a straight red card. Not many people saw exactly what happened in the incident that led to his dismissal, but the referee consulted with his assistant before issuing the red card.

Following the dismissal Kyle Tooze who had come on as a substitute came close to giving his side the lead, but his effort was just wide,

However Winchester took the lead when Jamie Barron set up Simba Mlambo who scored for the third successive home game. Warren Bentley then had a shot saved at the expense of a corner, before shortly afterwards being replaced by Oli Bailey. Philpott then made an excellent save to deny Howe, but it was Winchester who got the all important third goal when Mlambo set up Craig Feeney who was Winchester's first substitute when he replaced Ollie Balmer.

Max Smith provided a good finish to make it 4-1 and Feeney scored a fifth when he rounded the Bristol Manor Farm goalkeeper.

As a result Winchester leapfrog Bristol Manor Farm who have played two games more and move to the playoff positions,.

Winchester are next in action when they travel to Bideford on Saturday 20th November and they follow that up by playing Cirencester at home.

Melksham Town 2-2 Winchester City

By Malcolm Clarke

Prior to Saturday Winchester had played Melksham winning four times, winning three and drawing one, with the one drawn match seeing Winchester go two goals down after 14 minutes, pull one goal back before half time and eventually drew 2-2. Saturday's match followed a similar pattern except it took ten fewer minutes for Winchester to go two goals down.

Melksham and Winchester are closely matched in terms of league points and both teams went into the match on the back of convincing wins. with Winchester putting four goals past Slimbridge the previous Saturday, while Melksham had recorded a 9-3 victory against Royal Wootton Bassett of the Hellenic League Premier Division on Tuesday.

Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up from Saturday, but the big news from Winchester was that Warren Bentley was back and on the substitutes bench. Bentley had scored 57 goals for Winchester in 2015/16 when he was captain of the team reached the playoffs of the equivalent division to where Winchester currently play at and his performances that season saw him awarded the Golden Boot at The National Game Awards.

With Oli Bailey and Craig Feeney also returning and on the bench Winchester certainly had plenty of attacking options available for this game and this season forwards Greg Peel, Tyrell Mitford and Graeme Purdy have also been selected in their match day squad this season.

Before the match a minute's silence was observed in memory of Ben Smith a former Melksham youth team player who died during the week.

However Winchester fell behind in the second minute when Will Christopher set up Albie Hopkins who scored with a low shot into the bottom corner. Two minutes later it was 2-0 when Hopkins turned provider and set up Luke Ballinger who scored with a volley into the top corner. Ballinger is something of a legend at Melksham having made over 250 appearances for the club and scored more than a goal every other game. When a managerial change in the 2018/19 campaign meant that many players left the club Ballinger was one of the few to remain.

Winchester shell shocked by conceding two early goals began to play with more urgency and had the better of the last quarter of an hour of the second half, but after the two early goals neither side was creating any chances of note and the remainder of the half looked like being goalless until Kieran Douglas gave Winchester a lifeline scoring from 16 yards out with two minutes of the half remaining.

At half time Winchester make two changes with Warren Bentley replacing Adam Grange and Rob Flooks coming on for Dan Walster and they certainly started the second half better than they started the first and within five minutes of the restart Simba Mlambo levelled the scores.

Having scored at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second Winchester had built a momentum and Warren Bentley had two efforts just off target one after exchanging passes with Jamie Barron, but by now Melksham had also begun to look more dangerous and were making Winchester defend deeply at times.

In the 75th minute a Melksham corner involved a goalmouth scramble with the ball eventually cleared off the line, while Craig Feeney who had come on for Ollie Balmer almost scored with his first touch.

There was not much further goalmouth action in the final 10 minutes as the match eventually finished all square, a result that Winchester would have probably settled for after the first four minutes.

Melksham have probably the best facilities in the division and in light of that it is not surprising they have good attendance figures for their home games.

On Saturday Winchester are at home to Bristol Manor Farm and as things stand they have two other home matches and one away match in the remainder of November. However the home fixture against Plymouth Parkway on 27th November is dependent on them failing to beat Salisbury in the F A Trophy on Saturday.

The Winchester under 23 team beat the Ringwood under 23 team 3-1 away from home having been 1-0 ahead at the interval.

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