Weekend Preview – February 25/26

The Cheesemen return to action at Bowdens Park tomorrow (Saturday) when they take on 12th placed Malmesbury Victoria FC who make their first ever visit to Cheddar, for a Toolstation Western League Division One match. Kick off at Bowdens Park is 2pm.

Malmebury, who started the season in extremely strongly have not enjoyed the best of fate recently, having lost their last five games (i.e. 1-3 vs Westbury Utd; 1-2 vs Ashton & Backwell Utd; 1-5 vs Chard Town, 0-5 vs Wincanton Town and 1-5 Warminster Town) although as we all know there is nothing more stimulating than being ‘wounded’ and it is confidently expected that Malmesbury will be wanting to visit Bowdens Park to gain a victory, therefore the Cheesemen will have to be at their best to secure the three points.

In the reverse fixture in October last year, the Cheesemen drew 2-2, with goals from Craig Mawford and a late equaliser from Ricki Bennett.

As has already been advised on the club Facebook page, the Cheesemen moved back to second position on Wednesday evening (22nd February) as a result of Wellington’s defeat of Portishead Town at their North Street ground by two goals to nil, this result moving Wellington back to the top of the league on 69 points (from 32 games).

Wellington third-placed Keynsham Town tomorrow (Saturday) and should they fail to win and Cheddar secure all three points against Malmesbury then the Cheesemen will return to the top of the league.

Manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “Malmesbury had a solid start to the season but have suffered a little since Christmas. But complacency amongst us is not an option as they [Malmesbury] will be a tough game as they are a well organised team and use their physicality to their advantage.

“We have shown though in recent weeks that we have a great resolve and determination to manage situations in games to overcome most questions that are asked of us.

“With still a quarter of the season to go any of four teams can win the league.

“I think that Wellington are still favourites due to their run in and games at home which hold a big advantage as the pitch really plays into the home side’s hands.

“However, Hengrove are probably the most in-form side om the league recently and I wouldn’t discount Keynsham who have key fixtures that if they win could still be a threat.

“We have a tough run of five fixtures now which I think will determine our destiny, it will take the players and the management pulling together and getting the key decisions correct more often than not which will determine the destiny of the season.

“As I said to the players on Saturday last [following our 2-0 win at Portishead), they have worked tirelessly to recover from our early season injury crisis which cost us so many points but we gained nothing yet, we are now on people’s radar to be shot down which brings its own pressures, but I believe the squad is tough mentally and certainly skilled enough to see the job through.”

Manager Jared Greenhalgh is also the subject of much interest regionally this week, and an interview with the manager can be downloaded from the Toolstation Western League website www.Toolstationleague.com podcast.

Elsewhere tomorrow (Saturday) Cheddar Reserves travel to local rivals Winscombe whereas the ‘A’ team are also away, and travel to St George (Easton in Gordano). Both games kick off at 2.30pm, in the Somerset County League Division Two (West) and Weston super Mare & District League Division Four.

Last weekend the Reserve lost by the only goal (a hotly disputed penalty) whereas the ‘A’ team were without a match last weekend, although in their previous match they lost by the odd goal in a five-goal thriller.

And then on Sunday, Cheddar Ladies return to action and visit Pen Mill, kick off 2pm, where the Cheesegirls will be seeking to put last weekend’s defeat at Wellington to rest.

Club members and supporters are also reminded that the club’s 125th anniversary dinner with very special guest, former Tottenham Hotspur legend, Steve Perryman MBE, takes place tomorrow night in the clubhouse starting at 7 for 7.30pm. Seating and dinner is now sold out, but standing tickets are available for Steve Perryman’s address. Contact Alan Cooper on 0784 587 0812 for further details.

 

Cheesemen Hit Top Spot In The League

Toolstation Western League Division One match report

Saturday 18th February 2017

PORTISHEAD TOWN 0 CHEDDAR 2

Starting last weekend’s game against Keynsham Town in third place, the Cheesemen could not have wished for a better result on Saturday, with league leaders Wellington being held to a draw on home soil, but this win was an outstanding achievement in anyone’s book.

This result means that Cheddar top of the table for the first time this season and with just eleven matches remaining to be played one wonders if this could yet be a momentous season in the club’s 125th anniversary year.

The small village club, as they are known to many, were in a similar position to that they find themselves in currently this time last term but they fell at the final hurdle, with petty mistakes costing them, and if the team, which is more than capable, can hold their nerve, matters could well be interesting come April.

Cheddar could not have wished for a better start at Bristol Road on Saturday as early as the 2nd minute; and Craig Mawford combining beautifully with Chris Coombs, saw the flying winger scurrying into the 18-yard box, and despite the close attentions of three defenders, managed to slip a glorious sideways pass into the danger area, firstly finding Robbi Maggs, but with the energetic striker being pulled to the floor by a Town defender, Cheddar captain and twin-striker Adam Jones was on hand to ram home the loose ball from close range.

With a quarter of an hour gone, birthday boy George Booth, celebrating his 24th birthday linked wonderfully well with Maggs, deceptively dropping his shoulder to evade the attentions of his marker, sent in a fizzing shot that stung the hands of Portishead goalkeeper George Shanks-Boon.

On 23rd minutes Maggs, who tirelessly lead the front line throughout the afternoon, chasing down every loose ball, latched on to another excellent Mawford through ball and tested the keeper with a fine 18-yard strike.

As had occurred in the preceding fixture at Bowdens Park earlier in the season, the midfield of both sides continually battled for supremacy with the visitors gaining the upper hand. It wasn’t until the 27th minute that the home side despite all their industry could get a shot on target, former Clevedon Town striker Billy Manning’s effort safely handled by Cheddar ‘keeper Webster.

Some minutes later the Cheddar backline almost caused themselves a problem with a harmless back pass not reaching Webster, but Ollie Trevarthen, the Portishead No 9 was slow to react and ever reliable Shaun Lambert was on hand to tidy up.

Portishead who had much been their own worst enemy in opening 45 minutes such had had been the poorness of their final ball, appeared more determined in the opening exchanges of the second half, manager John Harris introducing a double substitution in an effort to add initiative to his side’s misfiring front line, but in spite of their incisive approach work again their finishing was either below par or the threat was thwarted by the returning central defensive partnership of Sam King and Shaun Lambert, or the alertness of goalkeeper Kieran Webster who once again proved his pedigree and top handling ability when called upon.

On 55 minutes Adam Jones threatened to put the game out of any contention with a customary brave run into the 18-yard box, but his blistering shot was parried bravely by Shanks-Boon, only for the burly striker to fire the rebound over the crossbar.

With an hour gone, Ricky Bennett adopting a left channel position and running at full speed, twisted, and turned just outside the penalty area and

let fly with a stunning left foot shot but the Portishead keeper was equal to the task on this occasion, and tipped the goal bound effort over the woodwork.

With just 25 minutes remaining, cue super sub Callum Ham, and almost immediately, the game changed pace.

Twice in seemingly as many minutes, Cheddar’s leading goal scorer had the Portishead defence tied up in knots but on 82 minutes came the move of the match; Bennett receiving a cleverly angled pass from Maggs, fed Ham with a delightful crossfield ball, and ghosting past his marker the crashed an 18-yard shot past the Portishead keeper for a goal of such quality, that it must rank of one of the goals of the season at this level.

With minutes remaining the Portishead frontline did get an opportunity to get past the Cheddar defence and George Coy shooting from 15 yards brought a textbook stop from Webster to save on “his line, hurting himself in the process, receiving lengthy treatment to his shoulder, although bravely continuing to the end of the match.

Cheddar’s victory, although not always a ‘pretty’ performance was without doubt a major triumph against a strong Portishead side that had lost just once in 12 games.

If the Cheesemen are to be amongst the honours this season it is games such as this that will be remembered for sheer effort and industry to grind out the three points.

Man of the match: Robbi Maggs

Following the match Cheddar manager, Jared Greenhalgh, remaining philosophical said: “There’s still eleven games left and a long way to go.

“Portishead always give us a tough game and today was no exception. They [Portishead] had little or no shape to their game but they worked hard and made it difficult for us at times with their combative presence.

“Despite the score line we weren’t at our best today to be honest but sometimes when you don’t play that well and pick up the points that’s good enough, and I’ll that today.”

Captain, Adam Jones added: “We didn’t really get to grips with the game today, and didn’t get to the second ball.

“We dug in though and in the second half we showed our strength in depth and ‘ground’ out the victory, and our second goal killed them off. Overall, pleased to get the three points, even though we weren’t at our best.

“We’ve got four tough games coming up now (Malmesbury, Oldlands, Hengrove [if the floodlights are up for this one], Wellington and then Ashton & Backwell) and we’ll have to be at our best for those. We will just have to keep this run of ours going and see where it takes us.”

Cheddar FC news

Cheddar’s eye catching top of table position has been achieved through former league-leaders Wellington having been held to a 2-2 draw by much improved Oldland Abbotonians at the weekend. Should Wellington defeat Portishead on Wednesday evening (22nd February) then they will regain the league leadership, but should the Keynsham defeat Wellington on Saturday (25th February) and the Cheesemen inflict a defeat on mid-table Malmesbury Victoria (Bowdens Park, kick off 2pm) then Cheddar will lead the table again, such is the seemingly complex look of the Toolstation Western League Division One table.

Following Saturday’s match, Cheddar will be hosting their 125th Anniversary dinner, with special guest, former Tottenham Hotspur legend Steve Perryman MBE, who will be addressing a sell-out 100 plus audience on the evening in the clubhouse.

Weekend Review

Elsewhere at the weekend Cheddar Reserves lost narrowly (0-1) at Bowdens Park to a hotly disputed penalty against Nailsea United Reserves. This result moves the Reserve team to 12th position in the league on 9 points, although they have a one game advantage over bottom placed Kewstoke Lions who have 8 points from 18 points. The ‘A’ team did not have a game at the weekend.

Also at the weekend, Cheddar Ladies travelled to Wellington in the ‘Chairman’s Cup’ Quarter Final, to play a very strong team in mid-table a division above Cheddar Ladies. With illnesses and other commitments Cheddar were struggling to get a team together with no less than six players unable to play the tie, the Cheesegirls had to shuffle and be strong with the remaining players that they had available. The Cheesegirls had a debut day signing goalkeeper offering to “give it a go”.

Cheddar were under pressure from the whistle but soaked up the pressure but struggled to find their own rhythm. Midway through the first half, following a defensive error the home side were presented a simple tap in and were then awarded a penalty two minutes later for a push. It was 2-0 to Wellington at half time but Cheddar did play some good football in the second half and created some chances but as their steam ran out with no substitutes available, Wellington were constantly rolling five substitutes and they scored four more goals although this was only down to the Cheesegirls becoming very tired and creating their own mistakes, but throughout the match they battled and fought very hard and played their hearts out to a much bigger and stronger team.

Final score: Wellington Ladies 6 Cheddar Ladies 0

Next weekend, (Saturday 25th February) Cheddar Reserves travel to local rivals Winscombe in the Somerset County League Division Two (West) and the ‘A’ team are also away from home (at St George) in the Weston super Mare League Division 4. Both matches kick off at 2.30pm. Cheddar Ladies travel to Penmill for their last away game of the season.

Update on the floodlight situation at Bowdens Park

The damage to the floodlights occurred during the late November storms, the club obtained two quotes for repair which were submitted to the insurers in December.

The insurer eventually instructed a loss adjuster and a representative of the loss adjuster visited the ground on 17th January.

Subsequently the committee have been chasing both the insurers and the loss adjuster almost daily, both directly and through our insurance broker.

The insurers have advised that they have been dealing with a massive fire related claim meaning that their claims processing is running behind its normal time scales, however at the time of writing they have confirmed that they have all the information they need from all parties therefore we are expecting to be able to proceed with the repair very shortly.

The company that is most likely to be appointed by the insurers to undertake the repair have advised that they would be onsite between three and four weeks of being given an order.

Therefore, the floodlights are unlikely to be fully operational before mid-March at the earliest.

Clearly the matter has been dragging on though the committee would like to reassure all supporters that this is solely down to the slow machinations of the insurers and their representatives and has nothing to do with Cheddar Football Club.

To the contrary the committee have been putting the insurer and the loss adjuster under as much pressure as we can.
Cheddar Football Club will do it can keep its supporters informed of further developments on this issue.

Cheddar FC committee

Cheesemen move to second place in league with a strong performance

Saturday 11th February 2017

Cheddar 2 Keynsham Town 0

Cheddar manager Jared Greenlight was forced to field what appeared to be a weakened side in their top of the table clash with Keynsham Town on Saturday but this match said much for the Cheeseman’s strength in depth, winning the match 2-0 in an at times feisty tussle.

Regular first team starters Mark Armstrong, Sam King, Chris Coombs, and Danny Griffiths were all missing together with long-term injury victims Sam Jones and Lewis Matthews, but with a new-look back-four in place, it was testimony to the Cheddar manager and his squad that they dug in to earn a deserved victory.

Both sides created early opportunities with Keynsham striker Adrian Harvey testing Kieran Webster with a low drive and then Ash Wintle, the visitor’s goalkeeper doing well to save low down at the back post from Adam Jones header.

Cheddar midfielder Billy Vaughan, making his first appearance following a three-match suspension was causing problems for the visitors with his strong running their defence, although he did receive a caution for a challenge on Nathan Curnock having skipped past three defenders, the fourth more a case of over-enthusiasm rather than intent.

Keynsham’s Matt Brown then created a chance out of nothing but goal bound effort on the turn was brilliantly blocked by the impressive Craig Maw ford who was filling at the heart of the Cheddar defence.

The home side who had been marginally the better of the two teams in the opening third of the game took the lead on 34 minutes with a quality goal.

A deep Kristian Bell cross to the back post found the head of Adam Jones, who had peeled away from his marker and his cushioned header cross the face of the six-yard box was skilfully slotted home by Shaun Lambert from close range.

Cheddar could well have been punished just before the half-time break s George Booth was cautioned for a late challenge on Ben Harris who then saw his free kick brilliantly turned to safety by Webster in the Cheddar goal.

The visitors started the second half strongly and on two occasions Adam Jones was forced to make superb headed clearances to deny Harris and Brown the opportunity to get their side back in the game as they lurked at the back post in space.

It was Cheddar though who edged the game in the final third despite losing Shaun Lambert through injury, Adam Jones once again showing his versatility by moving alongside Craig Mawford in central-defence.

Mawford went close for Cheddar late on with a spectacular free-kick and Jones went close with a flying header from a Ricky Bennett corner.

The game was settled on 85 minutes when the hard working Robbi Maggs was bundled over in the penalty area by ‘keeper Wintle as the striker chased Mason Gardener’s long ball.

Substitute Callum Ham stepped up to coolly convert the penalty kick for his 22nd goal of the season to seal the victory for Cheddar

In summary, it was quite remarkable that the game went ahead, groundsman Russell Heal working wonders to make the pitch playable and with it an exciting encounter between two of the top three teams in the league.

Next Saturday (18th February) Cheddar face another potentially difficult match when they travel to eighth placed Portishead Town.

Speaking after the match, Cheddar manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “This was our best performance in two years, all 13 players put in a performance today, I’m proud of them”

Cheddar captain Adam Jones added: “I felt that this was our best performance of the season so far with a couple of the lads playing out of position, we dealt with it so well. I think that we dominated the game and bullied them off the park. An all-round great performance from the lads.”

Match Sponsor: Chambers Services (Cheddar)

Man of the match: Adam Jones

Weekend Roundup

Elsewhere on Saturday, Cheddar Reserves travelled to Kewstoke Lions, losing by the only goal in the match. Meanwhile the ‘A’ team lost a five-goal thriller at Sharpham Road, Sam Smith, and Ben Clayton netting for the ‘A’s’.

These two results leave Cheddar Reserves in 10th place in their division with 9 points from 16 games, whereas the ‘A’ team remain seventh in their division (in the Weston & District League Division 4) with 8 points from 12 games. Next Saturday (18th February), the Reserve team entertain Nailsea United Reserves at Bowdens Park, kick-off 2.30pm. The ‘A’ team do not have a match at the weekend.

Cheddar Ladies return to action on Sunday (19th February) when they visit Wellington in the Somerset Women’s League ‘Chairman’s Cup’.