Monday, 8 October 2012

Report: Wimborne Tn 2-2 Cirencester Tn - Southern S&W

Magpies boss
Steve Cuss
THE disappointment of not taking three points from this clash is a marker for how far Wimborne Town have come.

The Magpies dropped two points with a minute to play as Cirencester Town grabbed a richly deserved draw that stole second place for the Centurions at the expense of the hosts. 

And while boss Steve Cuss may look at how close his charges were to victory, the fact that they competed with one of the division’s early pace setters without being at their best is proof that standards are much higher at Cuthbury this season.

The new found resistance that eluded Wimborne for so long during the last campaign was typified by one player who was not expected to feature until less than an hour before kick off.

Goalkeeper Dan Ackerman stood in for Jason Harvell as the injury that saw Wimborne’s number one withdraw from Tuesday’s FA Trophy replay with Banbury resurfaced during the warm up.

Ackerman has been used to playing with Harvell in and out since the summer, but with the usual custodian not even fit enough for a place on the bench, his understudy had to play through the pain barrier himself after an awkward landing at the end of the first half.

Even kicking was clearly painful for Ackerman after the break, but under a barrage of Ciren pressure he stood his ground and pulled off two quality saves that almost won the game for the Magpies.

The Centurions began well against their disjointed hosts as Chris Taylor set the tempo and stung Ackerman’s palms early on before fluffing a cross that should have set up Sam Collier for the opener.

The visitor’s lack of potency around the box was punished as Wimborne scored from their first meaningful attack of the game – Mickey Hubbard’s inswinging free kick finding Tom Jeffes to nod home at the far post.

Cirencester continued to probe at the other end, but their start was typified by Joe Shephard’s tenacious work down the right ending with a poor pull back coming to nothing.

However, with the Magpies trying to the play the ball out of their defensive third instead of clearing from dangerous areas, the match was soon levelled as Kevin Gill, not for the first time, was caught in possession allowing Ellis Dunton to cross for Shephard to ease the ball home.

Ciren were soon on the front foot again after the restart but Collier saw a deflected effort loop over the crossbar before his shot from an acute angle squirmed harmlessly wide. Jamie Reid also drew a smart stop for Ackerman before Wimborne eventually rallied, looking after the ball with more authority after the hour mark.

The difference between the two sides' finishing quickly became apparent as the hosts took full advantage with 20 minutes to go, Jeffes flicking on for Jamie Davidson to round Matt Bath and coolly slot home.

Another smart move between Jeffes, Jon Blake and Davdison saw George Webb’s effort blocked by Alex Allard as the Magpies turned the screw, but Ackerman had to be alert to tip Matt Sysum’s spectacular volley over the crossbar at the other end.

Substitutes Matt Kemble and Steve Smith both spurned presentable openings to win the match, but Wimborne could have few complaints as Collier levelled from the penalty spot with a minute to go.

The Ciren striker calmly tucked away his late spot kick after Ben Wells’ throughball was handled by Nathan Peprah-Annan in the area, sealing a useful point for the visitors.

There will always be a feeling of ‘what if’ when the home side lead so late in the game, but both sides were good value for a share of the spoils in a match that Wimborne would have probably gone on to lose a year ago.

The likes of Shaun Brian and Jon Blake have made Cuthbury a tougher place to go and decent teams like Cirencester have to earn what they get these days – it would seem that both clubs will enjoy a solid campaign this time, at least.

Post match reaction

*Steve Cuss' reaction to Wimborne's start to the season with the Bournemouth Echo can be found here

On the match, Cuss added: “We have mixed emotions after taking a 2-1 lead into the final moments of the game, but on reflection, Dan (Ackerman) made a few good saves and the draw might have been a fair result.

“I wouldn’t like to make any excuses but I did think we looked a bit leggy in the first half after Tuesday’s game went to extra time and penalties.

“We were probably just off the pace a little bit and allowed them to play. At half time we said we had to muster the effort to get tight to them and stop them playing and we did that.

“I’ve been delighted with the players all season and it has been a tough week for us – we had to dig deep at times because Cirencester are one the better sides we have played so far.”

"We’re just enjoying it at the moment which we tell the players to do – we give them the freedom to go out and play and the results have come from that so we’ll just keep picking up points and see where it takes us.

"We all want to kick on – Wimborne have been in this league for three seasons now and it is my second season so we want to get higher up the league when we can but we don’t set ourselves any targets other than trying to win the next game."


*A selection of matchday photos can be found in the slideshow below. Originals can be requested by contacting theonionsack.

WIMBORNE TOWN: Ackerman, Arnold, Cole, Peprah-Annan, Brian, Blake, Gill (Sainsbury 69), Hubbard, Jeffes (Smith 79), Davidson (Kemble 79), Webb.

Unused sub: Costello.

Goals: Jeffes 19, Davidson 70.

CIRENCESTER TOWN: Bath, Allard, Dunton, Sysum, Taylor, Thompson, Reid (Packer 83), Mortimer-Jones, Collier, Shephard, Bennett (Wells 71).

Unused subs: Bailey, Hawkins.

Goals: Shephard 35, Collier 89(p).

STAR MAN: Dan Ackerman (Wimborne Town)

There were several candidates with Jon Blake and Mickey Hubbard influential for Wimborne and Matt Sysum and Chris Taylor driving Cirencester forward, but the accolade must go to Ackerman who belied his injury woes to play a major part in the final result. After a string of impressive displays this season, he may start to wonder whether he should be second choice at Cuthbury.

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