FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying
Cirencester Town 2 – 0 AFC Portchester
Two Lee Smith goals straight out of the top draw push Cirencester into the next round of the F.A. Cup.
In front of a good size crowd at the Corinium Stadium Cirencester were facing AFC Portchester who are managed by former Arsenal player Graham Rix.
Both teams have experienced a recent good run of form both in the league and cup so expectations were high for this Second Round Qualifying match.
Cirencester were without Ellis Dunton who suffered a midweek shoulder injury at Bristol Rovers and Aidan Bennett who was also injured, however captain Shayne Anson was back from injury.
Cirencester for the first half were attacking the shed end. Within the first five minutes Portchester had to make two substitutions due to injuries through challenges, one of which earned Ciren skipper Shayne Anson a yellow card.
The first 30 minutes was pretty much all Portchester, although having most of the play and keeping Ciren penned in their own half they did not manage a single attempt at goal. It was in fact Ciren who came closest to opening the score after a pacey run from Lee Smith down the left took him into the box. As he turned for goal Josh Maddison lunged in with Smith sprawled on the floor, but the penalty appeal was turned down by referee Kevin Morris.
Lee Smith was to get his revenge a minute later; a high ball was delivered from the right, which found Smith on the left side some 12 yards out. He took his time and waited as the ball raised off the ground and then unleashed a right footed half volley that smashed into the top right of the net giving Ciren the lead.
This goal changed the game and spurred Ciren on and they nearly added another goal when Sam Collier drove a low hard shot just wide of the nearside post. Ciren were now dominating midfield and it was James Mortimer-Jones who won the ball on the halfway line, he saw Smith way on the left and fed the ball for him to take on the run. He skinned his marker and fired a cross which traveled tantalizingly across the front of goal with no Ciren player available to add that final touch.
In the 40th minute a Jon Beeden header from a corner was saved on the line by goalkeeper Luke Hutchings. It should have been 2-0 after a great ball from Joe Shepherd for Anson on the overlap. Anson streaked into the box and from 5 yards elected to square the ball instead of having a crack himself. The ball was cleared by Portchester.
With a minute to half time Beeden was stretchered after falling awkwardly and was replaced by Tim Bond.
H.T.Ciren 1-0 Portchester.
Ciren’s first drive forward in the second half saw that man Lee Smith on the left who was giving his marker a torrid afternoon. As Smith beat his marker and made his way into the box, he let fly a curling shot that found the top corner of the net. A quality goal that would grace any game.
Ciren were now attacking at will and but for a point blank save from a Collier shot it would have been two in as many minutes.
In the 69th minute after a fine ball from Steve Davies into the path of Brad Hooper who fired a great shot which the keeper did well to tip over for a corner, from the corner Chris Holland saw his headed attempt clear the bar.
In the 77th minute Smith on another of his penetrating runs found Davies at the far post who saw his attempt saved by the very busy Hutchings. Ciren were now well on top and looking for that 3rd goal which nearly came when Leigh Henry hit the post from a Ciren corner.
Shane Bumphrey replaced Smith to the delight of the Portchester defence; Jody Bevan replaced Collier who had worked his socks off all afternoon holding the front line.
Ciren had two more chances to increase the score with Davies on the right who fired a low cross through the Portchester goalmouth and Hooper going close with a late effort.
Glyn Garner kept the rearguard active with his constant orders as he had little to do between the posts not having to defend a single shot on goal.
The game finished with Ciren winning 2-0 although it could have been more. This was a fine Ciren performance with the whole team putting in 100%.
Unsurpringly, Lee Smith was awarded the Man of Match by the Ciren supporters, and he has now scored 10 goals so far in all competitions including 8 in the Calor League Division 1 S&W.
Referee: Kevin Morris