The Cheesemen take on league newcomers Bishop Lydeard FC in their second successive home league game tonight, Tuesday 16th August.
Bishop Lydeard who travel to Bowdens Park on the back of a 3-3 home draw with Wincanton (opening day of the season) and a 0-2 defeat at Keynsham (on Saturday) had a highly successful season last term being promoted to the Toolstation Western League Division 1 from the Somerset Premier Division.
Cheddar won their opening game of the season on Saturday defeating Devizes Town 5-0 with second half goals from Robbi Maggs (2), Billy Vaughan, Tom Manning and Callum Ham. Wiltshire side Devizes Town were table toppers prior to Saturday’s game.
Gates open this evening at 6.30pm and kick off is at 7.45pm.
Cheddar AFC looks forward to welcoming current supporters and welcoming old and new supporters to Bowdens Park for this attractive game.
Tonight sees a sequence of three consecutive games at Bowdens Park as Tuesday’s game is followed by home matches against Warminster Town (Saturday 20th) and a local derby against Ashton & Backwell (Tuesday 23rd).
Following the match on 23rd August the Cheesemen play away at Almondsbury before a further run of four successive home games in early September including an FA Vase match against Devon side Elburton Villa.
Five second half goals secured this impressive looking win for the Cheesemen as they shrugged off their FA cup hangover sufficiently well to signify their intentions to the rest of the league that last season’s good run was by no means a one-off.
In a generally uninspiring first half, the Wiltshire side who topped the league before kick-off made the most of the early exchanges as befitted their early season lofty status, Rory Collins in particular orchestrating some fine moves from his central midfield berth. As the visitors dominated early possession Daniel Sloan twice went close with snap headers following clever free kicks deep into the box, linking well with Robert Mitchell through the channels.
Gradually, the home side began to introduce more cohesive play and on 15 minutes a Robbi Maggs and Chris Coombs move was well thwarted by keeper Matthew Tilley who raced off his line to block the latter’s shot. Cheddar forced five corners in quick succession as they battled to achieve supremacy but the hard working Maggs saw a goal bound shot deflected off the line on 29 minutes before pivot Sam King’s shot on the half hour was saved instinctively by the keeper. With five minutes remaining of the half, Coombs crisp shot was kicked off the line by a Devizes defender.
Following the turn around, the Cheesemen noticeably upped the pace and inside wo minutes of the re-start striker Maggs opened his account for the season, finishing well from Lewis Matthews incisive cross deep into the 18-yard box. Two minutes later and the home side were two goals to the good, former Hengrove Athletic midfielder Billy Vaughan noticing keeper Tilley advance from his line, executed a 40-yard lob that sailed into the roof of the net.
Cheddar were three goals up on 56 minutes; that man Maggs making a nuisance of himself inside the box, stepping inside a defender’s lunge and hitting a rasping shot past the keeper’s despairing drive.
A further goal came on 59 minutes, substitute Callum Ham finishing off a delightful Matthews – Coombs move, and nutmegging the keeper for Cheddar’s fourth goal. The visitors had Jordan Matthews sent off for a second cautionable offence on 66 minutes although by then the visitors had been reduced to ten men.
Tom Manning completed the scoring on 72 minutes, netting a lob over the keeper’s head, not wanting to be outdone by Vaughan’s earlier effort, and shooting high into the net from all of 40 yards.
Following the match, Cheddar caretaker manager, Andy Wallis, said: “We were a bit flat in the first half and just couldn’t click but we made a couple of tweaks at half time and had a great start with Robbi’s first goal which settled us down. After that the lads gained in confidence and dominated, and deserved score line, which could well have been more on the day.”
Cruel luck and injustices are clichés often used in football, but these are exactly the terms that can be associated to Cheddar’s exit from the FA Cup. Roared on by a record 360 plus fervent crowd that would not be out of place in a stadium far above that of the Western League, the hosts can and must hold their heads high following this tumultuous match at Bowdens Park.
Following Saturday’s match at Bodmin, which ended in a 2-2 draw, the opening exchanges of last night’s match were no place for the lesser spirited, with crunching tackles flying in as both sides fought for supremacy.
Down to 10 men
Having inspirational captain George Booth sent off for a technical offence just on the stroke of half time gave the hosts something of an uphill climb to contend with as the second half spun into action The Cheesemen reduced to ten men, battled incredibly well to keep the Peninsular League champions at bay, with defenders Craig Mawford and Lewis Matthews overlapping at will, and centre-back pairing Sam King and Shaun Lambert in imperious form, as the ebb and flow of the game continued at a punishing pace, Ricky Bennett was also getting through a colossal amount of work linking between defence and midfield.
For a team who won all four domestic trophies within their league, the visitors finishing was poor to say the least, and Cheddar goalkeeper Mike Dangerfield positioned himself incredibly well to thwart the big Bodmin front line on at least two occasions before the Cornish side went ahead with just 15 minutes remaining, Lance Bailey lobbing the home keeper from 25 yards.
Not giving up
Within two minutes of the restart Cheddar had drawn level, Mason Gardener closed down Bodmin keeper’s ill judged clearance which rebounded from his knee and flew into the net.
Minutes later Craig Mawford hit a stunning 25 yard free kick which was pushed on to the post by ‘keeper then rebounding off his body and rolling agonisingly across the goal line before being cleared to safety. On the stroke of full time, Callum Ham sped into the box only to be cruelly upended, only for the penalty claims to be waved away by the referee, despite loud protests.
“This is the level we need to aspire to for the season ahead, the level of intensity and commitment from the team tonight was incredible and I am very proud of the boys” – Andy Wallis
In the eleventh minute of extra time, Bodmin went ahead, Darren Jennings headed home from close range, causing the visitors to celebrate as though the game was won, but the Cheesemen are made of stronger stuff and refused to throw in the towel and in injury time at the end of first period, Shaun Lambert powered in a header following Ricky Bennett’s delightful free-kick to send Bowdens Park into raptures.
Five minutes into the second period and Bodmin added to their tally, Nick Milton broke Cheddar’s hearts, or so it seemed, volleying into the net at the far post.
The final moments
In the final minute of the match, as the home side threw everything at their visitors in search of a late equaliser, Joe Grant was wrestled to the floor in the 18 yard box, the assistant referee signalling for penalty kick, but the referee for the second time refusing to award a spot kick, much to the disgust of the fervent support.
Cheddar caretaker manager Andy Wallis speaking after the match said: “I am absolutely gutted for the players, supporters and everyone involved with the club. We could not have asked for more from the players.
“This is the level we need to aspire to for the season ahead, the level of intensity and commitment from the team tonight was incredible and I am very proud of the boys.”
FA Cup games are notorious for being cut and thrust affairs, but this was game was a game to keep all the spectators in the 112 crowd perched on their edge of their seats throughout the match such was the pulsating level of entertainment on offer!
The Cheesemen had travelled to Bodmin’s tidy Priory Park ground, very much the underdogs against the highly fancied home side fresh from winning the ‘treble’ last season of the Carlsberg South West Peninsular League, League Cup, and Cornwall Senior Cup, but the visitors buoyed by a vociferous travelling support that amounted to at least half to the days attendance, were in no mood to be canon fodder for their high flying opponents and matched them for guile and enterprise right from the kick off; Chris Coombs pace paying dividends for the visitors his darting runs often penetrating deep into the home side’s final third. Equally, the home side had not achieved their impressive array of honours last season by chance and their direct style often required Cheddar’s twin centre back pairing of Shaun Lambert and Sam King to be at their best against former Southern League strikers Adam Carter and Steve Bowker, and Cheddar ‘keeper Kieran Webster was invariably comfortable between the sticks.
The visitors were desperately unlucky not to take a deserved lead on 28 minute; the energetic Lewis Matthews hitting a rasping drive against the upright from 12 yards, Mason Gardener following up from close range to hit home, only to be thwarted by a linesman’s offside dubious offside flag.
Cheddar forced a minimum of six corners in the opening 45 minutes and despite the direct manner of Bodmin’s football, even some of the home fans admitted that the visitors were playing the more fluent football as befitted their technical play.
The match opened up even further in the second half, with every single Cheddar player performing to the highest level. Robbi Maggs continued to engineer much of the play in the opposition’s final third, bringing his colleagues into the game with some deft touches and intelligent lay offs. From such industry used by the fervent attacks adopted by the visitors, the Cheesemen deservedly went ahead on 64 minutes, Chris Coombs hitting a fierce drive past the despairing keeper following further excellent work by Maggs down the inside left channel. Nine minutes later and Cheddar went further ahead; an impressive Maggs – Coombs combination move found Tom Manning in space and his deceptive lay off found the on-running Craig Mawford, surging forward like an express train and his thirty yard follow literally sailed past the despairing dive of Kyle Moore, sending the travelling Cheddar contingent wild with delight.
With just eight minutes remaining the home side were awarded a fortuous free kick on the edge of the 18 yard box, following a suspect looking dive, defender Karl Baker sending his dead ball kick just wide of ‘keeper Kieran Webster outstretched right hand. Minutes later, Webster had to receive lengthy treatment from physio Sophie Jones, following a nasty and unjust looking barge from two Town players, but bravely the ‘keeper continued.
As the referee looked at his watch in the dying seconds, and from an unusually misplaced ball, the home side reacted the quickest, and Robbie Bowker’s right wing cross found Dan Jennings who netted from close range to send his team mates into raptures, rescuing and unlikely draw.
Tesco’s (Cheddar) man of the match was Craig Mawford.
The match will now be replayed at Cheddar’s Bowdens Park on Tuesday 9th August, kick off: 7.45pm.
Captain George Booth said: “We played very well and did extremely well both on and off the ball. It’s a shame that we couldn’t hold on to our lead for the last 10 minutes or so, but let’s not take anything away from the lads, who gave absolutely everything this afternoon. A massive thank you to all the lads who travelled down to watch us today, it was a great atmosphere. We know what we have to do for the replay and we’ll be ready to go again”
Defender Sam King said: “We did really well to go 2-0 before the game ended all square; but we’re aware of what we need to do in the replay and we’ll be doing all we can to get the result we need”
Defender (& man of the match) Craig Mawford said: “Overall it was very positive day. We’re a little disappointed that we haven’t come away with a win after playing so well today but hopefully it will be a positive result in our favour on Tuesday and we know what we have to do. The atmosphere was brilliant today from the Cheddar fans; I’ve never played in such a noisy and passionate group of supporters and all the players are very grateful for the support today, it was brilliant”
Caretaker Manger Andy Wallis said: “Coming down to Bodmin today we knew we were up against it against very strong opposition but to in at half time 0-0 gave us a lift. It was good to go into the second half and go two goals with two very good strikes. It was a little disappointing to concede two late goals, but again let’s not take anything away from a brilliant performance and the lads played a blinder today. We know what we have to do on Tuesday and we’ll be doing our very best to finish off the job at Bowdens and move into the next round.”
The Cheesemen are to make the 250 mile round trip to play Bodmin Town Football Club in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tomorrow, Saturday 6th August 2016, being the first time ever in both the 125 years history of Cheddar Football Club and probably in the 9,000 or so years that Cheddar was first formed!
The Cheddar 17-man Cheddar squad travelling to Bodmin is to consist of Michael Dangerfield, Kieran Webster, Craig Mawford, Lewis Matthews, George Booth (capt), Danny Griffiths, Shaun Lambert, Chris Coombs, Ricky Bennett, Mason Gardener, Tom Manning, Sam King, Billy Vaughan, Callum Ham, Joe Grant and Kristian Bell.
Speaking to the Cheddar Football Club website earlier this evening; manager Jared Greenhalgh said:
“The lads need to clear their minds, focus on their individual responsibilities and believe that they can succeed. They have all the tools and they need to put these together collectively and consistently for 90 minutes. If they do that they will run Bodmin very close”.
Cheddar Football Club are extremely grateful to Tesco’s (Cheddar) for very kindly donating sports drinks and water for the players, to Sainsbury (Cheddar) for kindly donating Jaffa cakes and post match snacks for the players and to Dave at Arien signs for donating the Cheddar FC ‘team coach’ sign.
Let’s get behind the lads and cheer them on to victory tomorrow!
In the event of tomorrow’s match ending in a draw after 90 minutes tomorrow, the replay will take place at Bowdens Park, Cheddar on Tuesday next 9th August 2016, kick off is at 7.45 pm.
Cheddar Football Club are delighted to have signed former Middlesbrough, Darlington Town and Whitby Town defender, Shaun Lambert.
Shaun, 25, said: “I’m delighted to be joining Cheddar Football Football Club; I’m sure we’ll do well, there’s some great players at the club and I’m really excited about being involved in the FA cup next weekend.”