Toolstation Western League Division One match report
Saturday 8th April 2017
CHEDDAR 2 ROMAN GLASS ST GEORGE 2
On paper this match against 15th placed Roman Glass was a home banker as the Cheesemen set about catching the top three to boost their own promotion campaign but sometimes the visiting teams don’t always read the pre-match script.
Despite the apparent fielding of a depleted team the visitors were a different proposition from the team that Cheddar had easily beaten (4-1) at Oaklands Park earlier in the season, as this was a side that had recently beaten Western League champions elect Bristol Manor Farm in the Les Phillips Cup.
In similar vein to that of Chard, who had visited Bowdens Park just seven days earlier, Roman Glass appeared to have done their homework on the promotion chasing Cheesemen, and whenever the opportunity arose, Andy Gurney’s men would make every attempt to slow the game down to frustrate the normal energetic play of the home side.
Sure enough, it was Cheddar who showed the early initiative forcing four corners in the opening ten minutes but the expected onslaught failed to arrive.
Admittedly the home side were without their defensive talismen Danny Griffiths, Shaun Lambert and Craig Mawford, all missing due to suspension and injury; together with defensive midfielder Mark Armstrong and this may have had an effect in the team’s cohesion, nonetheless it took the Cheesemen twenty minutes to find their rhythm and they could well have counted the cost on 18 minutes when Jake Thomas’s deceptive 30-yard angled free kick deceived the Cheddar defence , his dipping free kick turned over the junction of the crossbar and upright by ‘keeper Kieran Webster.
Striker Robbi Maggs, ably assisted by strike partner Adam Jones fought tirelessly to give their side inspiration to outwit the visitors frustrating tactics, the former latching on to Ricky Bennett’s intelligent ball through the inside left channel but firing his effort just wide of the far post from an acute angle on 23 minutes, although a minute later the Cheesemen were in front.
Joe Grant’s long throw from deep, completely outwitted the visitors defence and Jones was on hand to dash into the area almost unsighted, to smash a well hit volley past the Roman Glass goalkeeper for his 23rd strike of the season.
The next ten minutes or so saw the home side inexplicably sit back on their lead and this again was almost to prove costly for Jared Greenhalgh’s men, as giving warning signs of their intent, the visitors won two successive corners on 26 minutes, before Bennett was on hand to head the ball off the line a minute later.
On 28 minutes the home side were given a further let off when Adam Snook’s swerving 18-yard free kick was again turned over the bar by Webster, but quickly finding space at the other end, Maggs strike out of nowhere from 10 yard was brilliantly stopped by Nahan John in the Roman Glass goal.
But the visitors were in on the act and on 32 minutes, given space in midfield Gurney’s speculative 40-yard shot bounced off the crossbar to serve a further warning to the strangely lethargic looking Cheesemen.
As if they needed a further warning, Ken Oni was allowed space and the muscly looking striker foraged forward almost unchallenged, shooting wide of the post from 18 yards.
Again, the industrious Maggs was in the thick of the action and linking well with his strike-partner Jones, the bearded striker brushed past two defenders and was desperately unlucky with his well hit but rising 12-yard shot that flew just over the crossbar.
With Cheddar pushing forward in search of their second goal they were caught flat-footed on the left flank on 41 minutes, Ken Oni finding space to cross, and with Kris Douglas outwitting the defence with a clever step-over, Snook was on hand to give Webster no chance from 10 yards to level the scores sending shock waves through the near 100 home crowd, but on the stroke of half time cue Maggs, who hit a great second goal from 16 yards after Jones had played his co-striker in with a delicious pin-point pass.
Following the turn round Tom Manning had a great chance to put his side further ahead but his shot from the edge of the area curled just wide of the left-hand post. From that point the match deteriorated as a spectacle and even threated to get out of hand at one point following a crude tackle on Cheddar substitute Billy Vaughan as the midfielder was sent sprawling near the halfway line fencing.
It was intriguing that this Cheddar team who had played so outstandingly well in their midweek showing against Hengrove failed to close the game down, and this was to prove their undoing with just 10 minutes remaining.
There seemed little danger from a long upfield punt by the Roman Glass ‘keeper that found both Cheddar’s stand-in centre-back Lewis Matthews and ‘keeper Webster in an indecisive situation and Oni nipped in between them both to slot home from close range for an unlikely looking equaliser.
Things might have been all-together worse for the Cheesemen on 85 minutes as substitute Josh Morris blazed wide from 10 yards with just Webster to beat having been played in by Snook, Morris sinking to his knees in disbelief on missing this excellent opportunity.
The home side gathered themselves and got a point from the match but it could have could have been worse had Morris’s effort been converted, and the Cheesemen can feel relieved.
Despite this generally below par performance they are still not beyond all hope in the promotion race with Hengrove dropping a point at home to Ashton & Backwell.
Cheddar visit Bishop Sutton on Good Friday (kick off: 12 midday) and Chippenham Park on Monday (kick off: 3pm) for two crucial away games over the Easter weekend which could well determine their season.
Following Saturday’s match Cheesemen FM caught up with the manager, the team captain and one of the senior players…
Manager Jared Greenhalgh said: “After the highs of Tuesday, today was a massive let down. I never make excuses and today is no different, we didn’t deserve the three points over the 90 minutes.
“I do feel that Lady Luck doesn’t help us though, losing Shaun (Lambert) on Tuesday, was a massive blow, from an innocuous challenge, and the Kinger (Sam King) half way through today’s game was a blow.
“Defence’s win leagues, and ours has been decimated all season. The lads who have come in certainly didn’t lack effort but the constant disruption means they struggle to get.
“When you add to that the pitch conditions, and a side hellbent on destroying the game, it is frustrating to say the least, and to be honest, the constant abuse of officials by the Roman Glass players should have led to a yellow card at least, when the referee is called a cheat and nothing is done about it, really frustrates me.
“The Roman Glass equaliser was frustrating as it came after the first three passes they strung together and it was poor defending from us.
“But again, we struck back with a well taken goal. Their equaliser again was one long ball, our line was too high, and we didn’t react and Kieran was left in no man’s land again presenting them an opportunity.
“We have scored twice now and lead in games against Ashton & Backwell, Chard and Roman Glass and only taken two points from nine. That is where the league has been lost. Unfortunately, we will now even struggle to get the second promotion place (in effect six with goal difference) behind second placed Hengrove, who we dismantled on Tuesday.
“What’s even more disappointing is they [Hengrove] struggled to overcome Ashton & Backwell so two points on Saturday would have put us within a game.
“We now have to win all four of our remaining games, which will be tough and hope that Hengrove lose two.
“Hopefully we can win on Friday, and Keynsham (who are back in form) can do us a favour against Hengrove as they are not out of the picture yet. If we can go into Monday’s game (at Chippenham) just two points behind Hengrove the outlook may look slightly more positive, but we are running out of games.”
Cheddar captain Adam Jones said: “Today was disappointing not to pick up all three points as Hengrove drew.
“We struggled to get out of second gear at times with a few players carrying injuries from a tough midweek game so I think that there were some heavy legs in the team which stopped us playing our normal game.
“The team will be right up for Friday’s game at Bishop Sutton to get the win and keep pushing hard until the end.”
Sam King said: “It was disappointing today after a great win in the week. We didn’t really turn up today and I feel we should really be winning against team’s like that. Regarding my injury today, I got a pretty bad knock and I had to come off; my knee isn’t great at the moment but hopefully I’ll get myself through our final four games this season and then rest it.”
For the benefit of Cheesemen fans everywhere here is how the remainder of the season stands… Wellington current lead the league on 82 points from 38 games. Wellington’s remaining games are:
14 Apr Bishops Lydeard away
17 Apr Chard home
22 Apr Malmesbury away
29 Apr Radstock away
Wellington’s current goal difference is 51. In second place are Hengrove with 80 points from 38 games. Hengrove’s remaining games are:
14 Apr Keynsham home
17 Apr Portishead away
22 Apr Almondsbury home
29 Apr Westbury away
Hengrove’s current goal difference is 64. In third place are Keynsham with 78 points from 39 games.
Keynsham have only three games remaining, these being:
14 Apr Hengrove away
17 Apr Devizes away
29 Apr Ashton & Backwell home
Keynsham’s current goal difference is 33.
And in fourth place are ourselves with 75 points from 38 games.
Our last four games are:
14 Apr Bishop Sutton away
17 Apr Chippenham Park away
22 Apr Westbury home
29 Apr Devizes away
Our current goal difference is 40. Continuing the statistical front, gates for the last three (home games) have been 91, 153 and 88 respectively, which means a total of 332 supporters have come through the turnstiles over the last week, meaning an average of 110 per game, which is a quite fantastic effort, so a big thank you to everyone for their brilliant support.
The forthcoming Easter weekend sees all three Cheddar teams back in action, with the first team at Bishop Sutton on Good Friday (kick off 12 midday) and at Chippenham Park on Easter Monday (kick off 3pm).
The Reserve team are at home to Easter Saturday to Burnham United Reserves (kick off 3pm) and the ‘A’ team are in action at Wrington & Redhill, also with a 3pm kick off. Penultimately some Cup
Cheddar Football Club are delighted to have been requested to host two Weston & District Cup Finals on Saturday 20th May, these being:
Keye’s Cup Final – 1130 a.m.
Axbridge Town Reserves vs Uphill Castle ‘A’ Attwell
Shield Final – 3.30 p.m.
Draycott vs Hutton
vs Hutton Cheddar Football Club have also been selected to host two Somerset County Finals, details of which will be published in our next website update.
And finally… Don’t forget Weekend Review later this week….