Town at Cirencester: The Corinium welcomes Paolo the Roman

A trip down the A419 to our Gloucestershire neighbours Cirencester Town provided a second chance to follow Paolo Di Canio’s pre-season roadshow before Reading arrive at The County Ground for the final test on Saturday.

Unlike previous seasons when the friendly ties against local non-league opposition provided runouts to a few first team fringe and mostly youth players, Di Canio has fully embraced both the Supermarine and Cirencester games to use all that is at his disposal. Offering all important match preparation for his burgeoning team and a welcome boost to the coffers of our opposition with the extra gate attracted by a full strength team.

With this league strength and experience on show you can’t be surprised by the 4-0 scoreline, as Town yet again dominated proceedings for a fourth time in July and haven’t conceded during pre-season.

The starting eleven featured one change from the 4-0 win at Hunts Copse with Esajas replacing Simon Ferry and taking up his position on the left of midfield. With a continuity of selection two games running you’d be led to believe Di Canio has his first XI set for Crewe, yet that’s not the case. Jonathan Smith was outshone in this game by his replacement Ferry, Esajas is now injured and half time substitute Kerrouche was the standout performer after the break with his goal, movement and control.

The first half was hardly an enthralling affair. Town took time to adjust to the pace and bounce of the surface, finding limited options and both goals, a Matt Ritchie header from 2 yards out and an own goal after Kennedy’s free kick went lose in the box, showed perseverance and pressure paid off.

So it took half time, perhaps a rollicking from Di Canio and three substitutions to get Town working, expansive and direct.

Both second half goals from Kerrouche and Connell, their first for Swindon, resulted from swift and perfectly executed moves.

Ferry took control and spoted the on running De Vita to the left, slicing a simple and effective pass forward. Raffaele squared for Kerrouche, who shielded the ball, then turned inside to drill a right foot shot which struck the underside of the bar, down and just crossed the line.

Connell’s goal was a soft finish then just about beat Ciren keeper Greaves, but it was the build up that delighted. Atiku and McCormack combined on the right wing with the former Southend and Charlton midfielder crossing in towards Connell who deceives the Ciren defence, allowing the ball to run through to Kerrouche who plays a first time pass back to his strike partner to finish.

Both these two goals and Smith’s at Supermarine show what this team are capable of when they put their mind to it. Boding well for League Two.

I had predicted a 5-1 win for Town, resulting in some scoffing at the prospect of Town conceding against lowly opposition. The reason behind that was more in the hope our defence and keeper would at least be properly tested, however as Phil Smith didn’t have a shot to save you’re left wondering is this enough? There’s no doubt Reading will provide a more sterner test this Saturday, so don’t be disappointed if we concede as we need to come back after going behind. Our rearguard needs to make mistakes now in pre-season and learn how to put it right.

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