Highworth Town 0-3 Cirencester Town Town
By Mike Markham
A Hard Lesson
Having come off the back of a win and a draw, the Worthians suffered their first league loss in their local derby with Cirencester Town. The boys played some great football against a very good side and a three-nil defeat seemed a bit harsh after all their sterling efforts.
A very entertaining, end-to-end game, a bumper crowd of just under 300 and a perfect sunny afternoon provided a great advert for Southern League football and the difference between the two teams in the end, in my opinion at least, came down a more clinical approach in front of goal and a well-marshalled two banks of four presenting itself to every Highworth attack, making it difficult to take advantage of long periods of possession, especially in the second half.
The first half started tentatively and after 20 minutes or so, a Chris Taylor shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Matt Wieczorek and the Centurion keeper then did very well to save from Darren Jefferies after the Worthian winger's mazy run was finished with a low, crisp shot heading for the bottom corner of the net.
However, the first real chance of the afternoon fell to the Worthians after 34 minutes, when a Sean Wood corner was flicked on at the near post for Callum Parsons to head goalwards, but his effort came off the underside of the crossbar and was cleared.
As the half was coming to an end, the ever dangerous Ben Whitehead latched on to a through ball and a desperate challenge by Ryan Morgan resulted in a penalty kick which the Centurion frontman himself converted for the opener.
The Worthians started the second half with a bang and another excellent cross from Darren Jefferies saw a Callum Parsons header saved by Matt Wieczorek.
The Worthians seemed to have the run of the midfield at this stage but despite this, they were not able to break down the resolute Centurion defence. Relying on absorbing Worthian attacks, the Centurions were very quick to counter-attack and Connor Johns was required to make a couple of excellent saves to deny Ben Whitehead, firstly in open play and then from a superbly struck free-kick.
The stuffing was knocked out of the Worthians on 75 minutes when Aidan Bennett cut in from the left and crossed a ball to the far post only to see it sail into the net for a very fortunate goal.
With three minutes left to play, the ball was fed to Henry Spalding on the edge of the box and his well-struck first time shot gave Connor Johns no chance, sliding in between the Worthian keeper and a post for the third of the afternoon.
A disappointing scoreline for the boys who worked very hard and played some great football, but most encouraging to compete equally with a side who will be near the top come the end of the season, for long periods of the game.