A night to forget
Ciren 6 Wood 1 - by Harry Ash
A night to forget for Shortwood as they were soundly beaten by Cirencester, who capitalised on individual errors with ruthless efficiency. Paul Meredith said, “It was a poor all round performance tonight. Five individual errors led to five goals and when that happens you are going to be up against it. We have to find some consistency and we have to find it soon. It was a fantastic surface to go and express yourself on but we just didn’t get out of the changing room, which was very disappointing.”
Cirencester started assertively, pinning Shortwood back in their own half. Henry Spalding tested George Burton from the edge of the box with three minutes played, with the ‘keeper saving low to his right. With twenty minutes played, Will Christopher sent in a first time cross which found the unmarked Ben Whitehead in the area, but his header dropped wide. Two minutes later, Shortwood’s first real foray into Cirencester territory resulted in Jordan Morris finding Joe White on the edge of the box, who beat Alexandru Albert before firing a low shot towards the bottom corner, but Mateusz Wieczorek got down well to push the ball behind. From the resulting corner, Shortwood had a goal disallowed, as Wieczorek was adjudged to be pushed as Ryan Meredith turned the ball into the empty net. With fifteen minutes of the half to play, a White cross found Nick Humphreys at the far post, but his shot from ten yards out flashed wide. Just a minute later, Cirencester took the lead through Whitehead, who nutmegged Jack Freeman before curling a shot into the top corner from a tight angle. Cirencester doubled their lead eight minutes later, as an Henry Spalding cross hit Aidan Bennett, before the ball was spilled by Burton and Alan Griffin was alert to tap in the rebound. Two minutes before half time, a rare mistake in possession from the home side presented Shortwood with a way back into the game; Humphreys collected the ball twenty yards from goal, before squaring to Freeman, who calmly finished right-footed into the bottom corner.
Despite this lift so close to half time, Shortwood’s second half performance was nothing short of disastrous, as Ciren ran in four without so much as an effort on target in reply. Ciren’s third arrived eight minutes after the restart, as a corner fell to Albert at the far post, and after his shot was well saved by Burton, Whitehead was there to nod in the rebound. With just under half an hour to play, Griffin added Ciren’s fourth and his second of the game; a Rich Thwaite slip on the edge of his own box gifted the ball to the ever-dangerous Whitehead, whose shot was saved by Burton, only for Whitehead to follow in, squaring for Griffin to once again tap the ball in from point blank range. Four minutes later, Whitehead’s left-footed free kick from twenty yards out crashed against the top of the crossbar, before, in the sixty-eight minute, Tommy Anderson threaded through to Whitehead, who smashed a shot past Burton at his near post. Burton could perhaps have done better, as he got a big hand to the ball in his attempt to save it. That goal made it 5-1, with Whitehead helping himself to a hat-trick. Shortwood’s miserable second half was compounded with twelve minutes to play, as Burton kicked the ball straight to Henry Spalding twenty-five yards from goal, who advanced before unleashing a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner, despite Burton once again getting a touch to the ball. A worrying performance from Shortwood, in which almost every Ciren goal was very preventable.
Shortwood: George Burton, Ryan Meredith, Ryan Thwaite, Rich Thwaite, Ashley Davies (Alex Kibble 66’), Jack Freeman, Ismail Samyan (Tristan Haswell 61’), Jordan Morris, Nick Humphreys, Joe White (Will Hawes 66’), Liam Meredith