Sunday 8th October 2017
BISHOPS LYDEARD 2 CHEDDAR 3
For the football purist this match had everything, five goals, a missed penalty, countless goalmouth opportunities and three top drawer finishes by a Cheddar team who have now moved menacingly into fifth place following their disappointing start to the league campaign.
The match, unusually being played on a Sunday was the culmination of seven Toolstation League games which saw non-league football fans descend on the county, and they were served a treat as both teams went about their roles to serve up one of the best, if not the best, games of football seen at Western League level for some time.
The two sides were locked together in the league table prior to the match but Cheddar started the more promising and totally outplayed their hosts for the greater part of the opening half, somehow missing contriving to miss a hatful of chances, after they had carved out some terrific openings.
Both Robbi Maggs and Ricky Bennett were undoubtedly on top form as they ‘ruled the roost’ and on 8 minutes, the former threaded Chris Coombs with the most wonderful crossfield ball, and Coombs made no mistake with a crisply hit right footed finish goalkeeper Sam Carreau.
Midfielder Stephen Pennington was next in on the action but hooked his shot wide, before ‘captain Craig Mawford was inches away from adding to the scoreline with an angled drive.
Bennett was given licence to play a free role and was causing chaos with his ability on the dead-ball and from a Bennett corner, Sam King headed just wide before Adam Jones, who has been in imperious form of late, hit a snap shot that was just held by Carreau.
By contrast the home side were reduced to lumping the ball forward as their overworked defence took a breather, but the danger soon returned as Jones twice went agonisingly close as the visitors threatened to run away with the game.
Carreau who was having a tremendous game somehow kept out a stunning shot from Jones from direct range before a further defensive howler let in King but the big defender, turned attacking midfielder contrived to miss badly from close in and the home side drew breath nervously on the half-hour.
Carreau was called into action to save again from King towards the end of the first half but in a cruel twist of fate, the tide suddenly turned and completely against the run of play the home side levelled with arguably their first real chance of the game.
Charlie Wilson escaped his marker in the outside left channel and crossed for James Quick to find the roof of the net via Ben Hebditch on 39 minutes.
It got even better for Lydeard as in the final minute of the first half Quick’s corner was missed by everyone in a yellow shirt and Hebditch was on hand to put his side into the lead to the bewilderment of both the 264-strong crowd and the Cheddar players who couldn’t believe they had fallen behind after creating so many opportunities.
The second half of this pulsating game turned into something of a classic with the inevitable game changer from the penalty spot and more missed chances, which began with Bennett’s sweetly struck free kick that reached Pennington whose header was dramatically turned away by ‘keeper Carreau, in a save more akin to Gordon Banks of World Cup fame! Cheddar looked to have gift wrapped the points to their hosts two minutes later as referee Kevin Rodd was well placed to see Nathan Best push Quick, but the Lydeard centre-forward’s spot kick lacked the necessary pace and was saved well by Kingston in the Cheddar goal as it rebounded to him off the upright.
From that moment the game edged away from the home side; Bennett was controlling the game from his central midfield berth and his textbook corner just missed Jones’s head before King fired across goal.
The same player brought a good save from Carreau as Jones nodded home but from an offside position, and then the goalkeeper was equal to the big centre-forward’s cracking 25-yarder as Cheddar threatened to run riot.
The home side had a rare foray when Wilson’s shot was just kept out by Kingston but it was the Cheesemen who finally broke Lydeard’s hearts on 65 minutes when Jones hit the sweetest of scissor kicks crashing past the keeper from Maggs delicious assist.
On 74 minutes man-of-the-match Bennett was given too much space in the inside left channel and with a drop of the shoulder, glided past his defender to finish outstandingly which was well deserved and long overdue.
There were other chances in the final fifteen minutes as the visitors threatened to run riot but the three points were well deserved for the team from the ‘Theatre of Cheese’ as they now prepare to meet National League (South) side Bath City in the County Premier Cup (1st round) on Wednesday evening (11th October) (kick-off: 7.45pm).
Cheddar first team are without a match on Saturday (14th October) due to the Toolstation Western League’s 125th anniversary weekend.
Man of the match: Ricky Bennett
Cheddar caretaker manager Shaun Potter said: “Overall I was very pleased with today’s performance.
“Although the scoreline doesn’t suggest it, I think that this was one of our best performances of the season apart from a ten-minute spell at the end of the first half we were superb going forward and comfortable defensively.
“We played some great football and on another day, it could have been ten!
“We conceded two goals just before half time; we wanted a reaction in the second half and the lads showed a tremendous amount of character second half and perform as they did so I couldn’t be happier.
“We look forward to a little break from the league now; we play Bath City on Wednesday night in the Somerset County Premier Cup, an occasion the lads can enjoy with no pressure but I can assure everyone that we will be doing all we can to win the game with our style of football I fancy us to have a good go against anyone so we’re all looking forward to it.”