Cirencester Town 3 Winchester City 4
It is perhaps ironic that while in 1996 the concept of a football academy was initiated by Cirencester College and Cirencester Town football club, that on the day when Winchester ended their barren run on Cirencester's ground having lost on their four previous visits they did so with two players who begun their career at Eastleigh's academy in Joe Hayward and Ollie Griggs were on the scoresheet in a 4-3 Winchester win.
Cirencester were runners up in the league last season., but are not doing quite as well this season. Their prolific marksman of last season Ben Whitehead has joined Weston Super Mare although he appears to in any case be suffering from a knee injury. The manager Charlie Griffin tecently left the club although his brother Alan a key member of the team was playing.
Cirencester play on a 4G pitch and so although there was rain during the course of the day there was no danger of the match not being played.
With Jamie Barron being unwell on the day of the match and Luke King also unfit Liam Gilbert came into the Winchester side, while Joe Hayward came in as centre back with Kieran Douglas on the bench.
The first half produced only one goal when following a corner which was awaaded when Ollie Bailey had an effort tipped round the post and Joe Hayward who had a good fan club watching him scored from the resulting corner. In the first half Cirerncester's John Dennis hit the outside of the post, but I K Hil;l and OLi Bailey before the latter had to go off with a cut to his head were quite lively in attack for the Winchester. I K Hil had one effort saved at the expense of a corner and put in one cross that no-one could get on the end of, while Liam Gilbert and Shgyne Anson both came close for their respective teams.
.Both teams had other attacking moments, but a précis of this game will show that the second half was much more eventful than the first. Early in the second half Cirencester's Jack Freeman forced a save from Ryan Pryce in the Winchester goal, but then Simba Mlambo had two great chances to increasing Winchester's lead which in fairness he did well to get in position for. One sensed that perhaps Winchester might have to pay for this. However it was 2-0 in the 54th minute with a good strike from Rob Carr. Winchester's two lead lasted only two minutes as Toumani Sidibe headed home a cross from the right. Soon afterwards Cirencester scored their second in similar fashion with the same player scoring, although between the goals I K Hill came very close to scoring for Winchester.
Cirencester were reduced to 10 men when Michael Pook was sent off for a foul on Liam Gilbert. Although Pook had also been sent off in last season's F A Cup tie between the teams there were a fair number of people thought that this challenge merited no more than a yellow card. Soon afterwards Gilbert was replaced by Ollie Balnmr who ass it turned out had a significant impacton the match.
Winchester regained the lead when IK Hill set u pOPllie Griggs who had earlier replaced Bailey .and the substitute scored with a great strike. Before the 90 minutes were up William, Tunniicliff had a chance for the home team, but shot over, while an excellent shot by Winchester's Ollie Balmer hit the bar
In the 93rd minute Cirencester drew level again with Sidibe completing his hat-trick to jubilant scenes. However there was a final twist when Ollie Balmer scored with a free kick for further scenes of jubilation from a different set of players to erupt.
Winchester moved into third place with this win with their final two goals being scored by substitutes named Ollie, one of whom had replaced an Oli. Perhaps Oli-via Newton John ought to write a song about it.