Cheddar Football Club completed their ‘away’ friendlies with a rather disjointed performance at Somerset County league side Burnham United on Saturday, winning by three goals to two, but making hard work of the game by scoring three second half goals to win the match after the hosts had taken a 2-0 lead.
Centre back Sam King pulled a goal back for the Cheesemen on 72 minutes, adding his second and the equalising goal just three minutes later, for his third goal in three games for the Western League club.
Craig Mawford’s quality strike from outside the box secured the win with just ten minutes remaining.
Cheddar’s third win ‘on the road’ meant that they have scored three goals in each of their games, conceding just four goals.
Speaking after Saturday’s match, Cheddar manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “This was a frustrating performance in many ways.
“Burnham certainly gave us some of the treatment we are likely to face this season.
“We again had a number of chances but either failed to progress in the final third or ended up with long strikes which didn’t trouble their ‘keeper.
“The scattered approach of Burnham and a little lethargic approach by ourselves allowed them (Burnham) to get into the game, and it was a lapse of concentration and ball watching which led to a good back post header allowing Burnham to take the lead.
“In the second half, we started again in control of the pitch, but a deflected shot gave Burnham a 2-0 lead.
“Moving Sam King into ‘holding midfield’ seemed to give us some traction and forward movement and it wasn’t long before he (Sam) netted twice and Craig (Mawford) once to seal our win.
“Again, I think that in spells we showed real quality and endeavour and I hope it won’t be long before the new shape and team gel together and we offer a complete performance.
“Both on and off the pitch we all need to pull together and raise the standards and with it the expectation!
“Yeovil will be a good test on Wednesday as we certainly had the run about against them last year but sneaked a one nil victory so I think that this will be a good yardstick for us.”
Cheddar captain George Booth said: “This was a sloppy game for us. We only started playing in the last 20 minutes. Burnham weren’t a bad side but we didn’t match their workrate.
“We need to up it, all over the pitch in our last two friendlies.”
And finally, match winner Craig Mawford said: “We didn’t turn up until the last 20 minutes. We were very poor today.
“We had a real lack of pace and the urgency wasn’t there. Sam did well when he came on and it was nice to see Lewis back.
“Anthony Cleave took up some good positions over the pitch and on another day he might have scored one or two.
“Nathan has settled in well and offers good competition at the back. We know we have got to improve a great deal in the next two weeks.”
Not wishing to be outdone at the weekend, Cheddar Reserves also recorded their second successive pre-season away win, as they secured a good 3-2 win over a spirited Churchill Club 70 side, goals coming from Sam Smith, Harry Hughes, and a penalty from Taryn Selway-Joseph.
Called up to bolster the squad on the day were ‘A’ team stalwarts Sam Smith, Alex Cooper and Jack Griffiths plus young guns Jamie and Mark Claridge and Henry Favre.
The opening 20 minutes saw Cheddar looking a little rusty, the home side looking the stronger of the two teams, as they forced two goals from individual errors.
Cheddar retained their composure with the midfield three of Adam Davies, John Edwards and Tom Catling starting to dominate to allow Callum Sully and Taryn Selway-Joseph to attack at will. Injuries to Mike Carpenter and Alex Cooper saw the introduction of Sam Smith, who took no time in making an impact.
Picking up a loose ball in the box and showing great composure he drilled a loose ball into the top corner to lift Cheddar’s spirits. Five minutes later, Selway-Joseph was unended following another strong run from the young winger, and that same player calmly slotted home the resulting penalty.
The home side were struggling to cope with Cheddar’s wing play and Sully was scythed down. Adam Davies’ beautifully flighted free kick was met by Harry Hughes who made no mistake from close range.
At the turn round, Edwards went close before Selway-Joseph’s effort smashed off the bar. Match fitness started to tell in the last 20 minutes for this Cheddar side although Favre replicated Edwards earlier chance.
In the dying minutes Smith was adjusted to have handled in the box but new signing Garth Flynn was equal to the task and brought off a superb double save.
Reserve team manager Andy Wallis said: “I’m really pleased with the effort and performance from the team today. We had a few players that had to play in positions that they’re not used to and also we had lot of players playing together for the first time.
“What was most encouraging was how we stuck together when things went wrong and carried on playing how we’d agreed before the game.
“Whilst the result isn’t the most important thing at this stage of the season it was a really good performance against opposition from the division above ourselves.”
Cheddar’s Reserve team play their third successive away pre-season fixture on Friday (28th July) with a match with their Street counterparts, to be played at the Tannery Ground, Street, kick-off time will be advised on the club Facebook page.
The Bowdens Park club now look forward to their final two ‘warm up’ home matches against a Yeovil Town XI (on Wednesday of this week (26th July) before facing Welsh League Division Three side Ely Rangers on Saturday 29th July (kick off 3pm) in their last pre-season match prior to the club’s eagerly anticipated FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie against Toolstation Western League Premier Division side Willand Rovers on Saturday week (5th August), more details on which will feature on the website next week.
It is understood that Yeovil Town will be bringing a squad of 18 players to Bowdens Park. Equally, Ely Rangers will be bringing a strong side to Cheddar Valley on Saturday, so with the launch of their club shop in midweek, the Cheesemen are intent on continuing their special 125th Anniversary season as they mean to start; hopefully on a high!
Admission costs for the Cheesemen’s final two pre-season games are £3.00 (Adults), £2 (concessions) and £1 for Under 16s. Programmes for the Yeovil match (which kicks off at 7pm) will be available at £1 each.
There will also be a limited programme issue for Saturday’s game (which kicks off at 3pm).
Gates open on Wednesday night at 5.45pm and on Saturday at 1.45pm.