Cheddar Reserves 3 Banwell 0
Cheddar faced a much improved Banwell side, looking to build on last week’s victory over Kewstoke Lions, although due to circumstances they were without Jake Buxton and Callum French but reinforced by first team players Lewis Matthews, Callum Ham and Adam Jones who made themselves available due to the first team being without a match.
The home side started confidently dominating play without creating any clear-cut chances.
The experienced pairing of Tom Manning and Lewis Matthews controlled the central area, pulling the strings, and allowing full-backs Connor Heal and Sam Merreywether to attack the flanks at will. As the game progressed, Callum Ham and Callum Sully created further opportunities to run at the Banwell back line who never looked comfortable combatting the Cheddar frontline.
Both Harry Farrell and Adam Jones hassled and worked the visitors defence, who were under increasing pressure and it was big centre forward Adam Jones who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes finishing with a powerful header from a well delivered Ham corner.
Despite continued pressure on the visitors, Cheddar were unable to add to their tally and the centre-back pairing of Mike Carpenter and Adam Filer dealt well with occasional pressure from the visitors’ frontline, as Banwell went in at the break on a high after a series of corners in the final few minutes of the half, causing goalkeeper to warm his gloves.
The home side opened the second half determined to put game out of reach for the visitors and it was a touch of class from Ham whose sweet strike on 50 minutes gave them breathing space.
This second goal deflated Banwell and with Cheddar attacking at will and with Ham exploiting some tired legs of the visitors, the darting winger grabbed his brace in the 75th minute for his 25th strike of the season.
Substitutes Stefan Pennington, Carlos Farhina and Tom Catling all did well when they came on and the scorellne could have been more emphatic had Ham, Jones and Catling all converted good chances in the closing 15 minutes. Overall, this was a good win for the Cheddar second-string who have deserved more this season and are looking to finish their final four games strongly.
Meanwhile, Cheddar first team, who were without a match on Saturday, and lying in fourth place in the Toolstation Western League (Division One), gear up for a busy week with three home games in the space of seven days.
They kick off their first match in April on Saturday (1st) hosting eighth placed Chard Town, before entertaining new league-leaders Hengrove Athletic who displaced Wellington on Saturday, winning 3-0 at Roman Glass, Wellington only managing a 1-1 draw at Devizes. Then on Saturday week (8th April) Cheddar face a third-successive home match; when they host Roman Glass St George.
Although now fourth in the table, promotion is still a distinct possibility but all in the Cheesemen camp are acutely aware of the importance of three successive home matches before they move into their last four games, three of which are away from home.
Manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “Obviously the last few weeks have been challenging and we have to come through this patch.
“We have been playing well and I know that we can turn things around with a win on Saturday.
“We haven’t had the best of times with officials which hasn’t helped with some very strange decisions going against us, and the decisions both ways against Ashton & Backwell were somewhat confusing.
Now Wellington and Hengrove are favourites and have favourable run-ins but we will just keep going and try to put points pressure on them and see how we go”
Referring to the forthcoming match on Saturday (v Chard Town), the Cheddar manager said:
“Knowing the Chard manager, he will have them well organised and it will be a physical challenge.
“I think that we will need to go back to some basics, understand individually what our roles are and carry them out efficiently and well; the bottom line is that we need a win for confidence and to keep the pressure up on the two favourites, we know only too well after last season what can happen in the last three games.
“We have seven cup finals now and I still believe that we can push into the top two, come the end of the season.”