Toolstation Western League Division One match report
Almondsbury UWE 2 Cheddar FC 4
Saturday 27th August 2016
Two-goal Ham seals the points as a virtuoso Maggs display continues to drive the Cheesemen
Cheddar FC rounded off their busy opening month of the season with a comprehensive looking victory at Almondsbury on Saturday.
Starting the match in customary pattern, the Cheesemen were on the offensive from the off, Ricky Bennett again launching a series of attacks from the base of the diamond, and both Craig Mawford and Billy Vaughan creating havoc down the left flank and Callum Ham forcing the defenders into a series of fouls with his direct and incisive running.
Forcing no less than four corners in a six-minute spell inside the first quarter the best of the bunch fell to the lively Callum Ham, who forced the ‘keeper to hurriedly punch the ball away under pressure from centre backs Lambert and King.
To the neutral observer, it was something of a surprise that the visitors had not the lead within the first 20 minutes such was their territorial advantage causing their opponents to back-peddle at every opportunity, the hosts finding the Cheesemen’s flowing style difficult to combat.
Returning captain George Booth and striker Robbi Maggs both went close with good strikes from distance on 18 and 20 minutes, the latter constantly bringing his team mates into play with his brave and intelligent running.
On 21 minutes, unusual indecision in midfield led Bury’s Abdi Hussein reacting quickly, threading through to centre forward Stuart Alexander who struck firmly past Kingston for the home side to take an unlikely lead.
Just three minutes later and the Cheesemen were nearly back in the game, Craig Mawford’s stunning 18-yard free kick bringing a quite brilliant reaction save from Matthew Semple, diving full length to get both hands to the ball.
On 50 minutes, a quick thinking Bennett finding space, found Maggs, whose deceptive step-over deceived a defender inside the box and but his firm shot was again well held by Semple.
Three minutes later and Booth was in on the act, his 40-yard pass finding Chris Coombs whose first time shot was clearly handled but clearly not observed by the match referee or his assistant.
The Cheesemen were exerting a lot of pressure on the Almondsbury back line and clearly something had to give, and it did!
On 52 minutes, Billy Vaughan engineering yards of space for himself was unenterprisingly stopped by defender Aaron Jones, his late tackle earning himself a straight red card, whilst Vaughan lay pole-axed on the floor. Inside a minute Cheddar were level, Bennett’s clever lay-off finding Ham, who swerved past two defenders before netting from 10 yards.
Further Ham wizardry followed three minutes later, beating the defence with his unselfish running, and his superb reverse pass falling in Bennett’s path, and the technically gifted midfielder, ghosting past his marker dropping his shoulder hit home a 22-yard volley that will go down as one of the goals of the season, such was the quality of the move.
Cheddar were 3-1 up moments later as they scored their third inside a five-minute purple patch spell. Picking up loose ball wide on the right, Moggs sidestepped the attention of two defenders before crashing home from 25 yards; another quite brilliant textbook goal.
Drama was to occur on 67 minutes when King sent backpacks sailing over his ‘keeper’s head but the home side’s claims were to be of no avail as a clumsy ‘Bury tackle had aided and abetted the
big defender’s back pass, leaving him requiring extensive treatment.
On 69 minutes following two further corners in quick succession, Maggs headed narrowly over before Danny Griffiths had the ball in the Almondsbury net, but was adjudged to have pushed a defender, the match official disallowing the effort.
With 12 minutes remaining, Almondsbury reduced the deficit, Max Gourley beating Kingston at the young keeper’s near post, as the hosts gained a second wind and considerably upped their game.
A spirited fightback by the hosts was to come to nothing as Cheddar sealed the match on 79 minutes, Ham picking up Maggs slide rule pass and netting his second and his side’s fourth, as he cut inside a defender to hit home.
Man of the match: Robbi Maggs
The Cheesemen now have nine points from their first five games travel to Wincanton Town on Saturday before returning to Bowdens Park on Tuesday week (6th September, kick-off: 7.45 pm) where they are hopeful of attracting another 100+ crowd against Radstock Town; their previous home crowd of 122 being the second highest in the league so far this season.
Speaking with the club website after the game, captain George Booth said: “We were disappointed to go in at half time 1-0 down.
“We dominated the game but found them hard to break down. We’re finding that teams are playing with a defensive set up against us, and we are going to have to be patient and work hard to break them down. Once we get one, then the flood gates usually open.
“Second half we had some help with the red card but we moved the ball and scored some good goals. Overall it was a good day at the office and an important three points.”
“It was always going to be a tough game” – Jared Greenhalgh
Speaking after the match, manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “Saturday was also going to be a tough game.
“We very rarely win at Almondsbury as the pitch is small and doesn’t suit our style of play. Their manager Mr Black knows how to put together a side which is well organised and hardworking.
“They came off a good midweek win against Oldland and conversely we were off the back of a defeat to Ashton, so to collect three points was very satisfying and welcoming.
“I still think we are a little disjointed from the start the start of the season and we have not settled into a rhythm yet.
“We still have players to return , which is nice considering we have made a considerably better start to this season than last, however I think the frustration is we have lost two games we should really have won.
“Again, Saturday we dominated for long periods but a mistake again proved our undoing.
“I think the difference Saturday to Tuesday was the fact we stuck to our plan, and stayed more patient and having George back in the side certainly helped.
“We scored a good equaliser and then a horror tackle and a red card gave us the opportunity to get on top and we never looked liked losing after that.