Post by malcolm on Apr 13, 2020 19:30:02 GMT 1
WINCHESTER v CIRENCESTER F A CUP 2018/19
Winchester were making their third appearance in the 3rd qualifying round of the F A Cup in five seasons and were aiming for their first appearance in the 4th qualifying round for 64 years.
Their two most recent forays into the 3rd qualifying round had seen them drawn away to higher league opposition and lose by the odd
goal, with two years ago they had a 1-0 lead at Harrow going into the last 11 minutes before two late goals ended their interest in the competition. This time they at least had a home tie against a team of the same level in Cirencester Town.
However it should be mentioned that Cirencester had previously played Winchester six times in the Southern League and had won them all and they had progressed in the F A Cup with wins against Windsor, AFC Stoneham and Binfield scoring 15 goals and conceding none, with striker Ben Whitehead scoring seven goals in their F A Cup run and forming an excellent striking partnership with Alan Griffin whose brother Charlie was the Cirencester manager. Winchester though had progressed to this stage by beating higher level opposition in Frome and Merthyr Tydfil despite in both cases having been drawn to play away from home.
It had not been an easy week for the Winchester club with the death announced a few days ago of Life President Terry Bone, a great stalwart of the Winchester club and a lifelong fan.
For me I had a school reunion to attend at the nearby Cart and Horses and would be getting a taxi to arrive at the ground by 2.45 pm. The last time I attended a school reunion on the same day as a Winchester game was on the day of the club’s race night when the horse I named after my former school headmaster won its’ race and I do remember the late great Terry appreciating the way I celebrated.
When I arrived at the ground I discovered that Winchester’s captain Jamie Barron was suspended, Connor Cocklin was injured and Matt Benham was cup tied. Winchester though having seen on Tuesday their interest in the F A Trophy ended by Slimbridge were able to bring Rob Carr, Simba Mlambo and Sam Roberts into the side.
Winchester though made a dream start when in the second minute the Cirencester goalkeeper was unable to hold on to Reece Rusher’s free kick and Rob Carr was on hand to score. Being away on honeymoon and also having work commitments meant that this was Carr’s first appearance of the season and now he was scoring with what was pretty well his first kick of the season, really fairy tale stuff. and then Tyrell Mitford set up Mlambo to score the second. In the remainder of the first half both teams had off target efforts , while Reece Rusher who played with considerable energy throughout had an effort deflected for a corner. However Winchester went into the interval with a 2-0 lead and with a real chance of breaking their duck against Cirencester.
One expected that Cirencester would have a real go at reducing the deficit in the second half and Ben Whitehead hit the top of the cross bar and substitute Jordan Morris put in a couple of dangerous crosses on the left hand side. However Cirencester’s task was made harder when Michael Pook received a straight red card for a challenge on Reece Rusher. A good block from a Cirencester player denied Simba Mlambo at the expense of a corner, but even with 10 men Cirencester remained a threat and Whitehead forced a save from Pryce and Morris also came close.
Winchester then bought on Liam Gilbert and Oli Bailey who were returning from injury as substitutes and having been under some pressure they came more into the game and in added on time Bailey broke clear and was fouled leaving Joe Hayward to convert the resulting penalty and complete an excellent 3-0 win in which team work played a key part with jubilant scenes in the home dressing room after the game.
Winchester’s reward was a trip to Torquay in the next round and although they lost this match it was a historic F A Cup run and Torquay not only had a former international manager as boss, but their win against West Ham and draw against a star studded Tottenham Hotspur outfit at their home ground of Plainmoor remains very much part of F A Cup folklore.