Toolstation Western League Division One match report
Saturday 18th February 2017
PORTISHEAD TOWN 0 CHEDDAR 2
Starting last weekend’s game against Keynsham Town in third place, the Cheesemen could not have wished for a better result on Saturday, with league leaders Wellington being held to a draw on home soil, but this win was an outstanding achievement in anyone’s book.
This result means that Cheddar top of the table for the first time this season and with just eleven matches remaining to be played one wonders if this could yet be a momentous season in the club’s 125th anniversary year.
The small village club, as they are known to many, were in a similar position to that they find themselves in currently this time last term but they fell at the final hurdle, with petty mistakes costing them, and if the team, which is more than capable, can hold their nerve, matters could well be interesting come April.
Cheddar could not have wished for a better start at Bristol Road on Saturday as early as the 2nd minute; and Craig Mawford combining beautifully with Chris Coombs, saw the flying winger scurrying into the 18-yard box, and despite the close attentions of three defenders, managed to slip a glorious sideways pass into the danger area, firstly finding Robbi Maggs, but with the energetic striker being pulled to the floor by a Town defender, Cheddar captain and twin-striker Adam Jones was on hand to ram home the loose ball from close range.
With a quarter of an hour gone, birthday boy George Booth, celebrating his 24th birthday linked wonderfully well with Maggs, deceptively dropping his shoulder to evade the attentions of his marker, sent in a fizzing shot that stung the hands of Portishead goalkeeper George Shanks-Boon.
On 23rd minutes Maggs, who tirelessly lead the front line throughout the afternoon, chasing down every loose ball, latched on to another excellent Mawford through ball and tested the keeper with a fine 18-yard strike.
As had occurred in the preceding fixture at Bowdens Park earlier in the season, the midfield of both sides continually battled for supremacy with the visitors gaining the upper hand. It wasn’t until the 27th minute that the home side despite all their industry could get a shot on target, former Clevedon Town striker Billy Manning’s effort safely handled by Cheddar ‘keeper Webster.
Some minutes later the Cheddar backline almost caused themselves a problem with a harmless back pass not reaching Webster, but Ollie Trevarthen, the Portishead No 9 was slow to react and ever reliable Shaun Lambert was on hand to tidy up.
Portishead who had much been their own worst enemy in opening 45 minutes such had had been the poorness of their final ball, appeared more determined in the opening exchanges of the second half, manager John Harris introducing a double substitution in an effort to add initiative to his side’s misfiring front line, but in spite of their incisive approach work again their finishing was either below par or the threat was thwarted by the returning central defensive partnership of Sam King and Shaun Lambert, or the alertness of goalkeeper Kieran Webster who once again proved his pedigree and top handling ability when called upon.
On 55 minutes Adam Jones threatened to put the game out of any contention with a customary brave run into the 18-yard box, but his blistering shot was parried bravely by Shanks-Boon, only for the burly striker to fire the rebound over the crossbar.
With an hour gone, Ricky Bennett adopting a left channel position and running at full speed, twisted, and turned just outside the penalty area and
let fly with a stunning left foot shot but the Portishead keeper was equal to the task on this occasion, and tipped the goal bound effort over the woodwork.
With just 25 minutes remaining, cue super sub Callum Ham, and almost immediately, the game changed pace.
Twice in seemingly as many minutes, Cheddar’s leading goal scorer had the Portishead defence tied up in knots but on 82 minutes came the move of the match; Bennett receiving a cleverly angled pass from Maggs, fed Ham with a delightful crossfield ball, and ghosting past his marker the crashed an 18-yard shot past the Portishead keeper for a goal of such quality, that it must rank of one of the goals of the season at this level.
With minutes remaining the Portishead frontline did get an opportunity to get past the Cheddar defence and George Coy shooting from 15 yards brought a textbook stop from Webster to save on “his line, hurting himself in the process, receiving lengthy treatment to his shoulder, although bravely continuing to the end of the match.
Cheddar’s victory, although not always a ‘pretty’ performance was without doubt a major triumph against a strong Portishead side that had lost just once in 12 games.
If the Cheesemen are to be amongst the honours this season it is games such as this that will be remembered for sheer effort and industry to grind out the three points.
Man of the match: Robbi Maggs
Following the match Cheddar manager, Jared Greenhalgh, remaining philosophical said: “There’s still eleven games left and a long way to go.
“Portishead always give us a tough game and today was no exception. They [Portishead] had little or no shape to their game but they worked hard and made it difficult for us at times with their combative presence.
“Despite the score line we weren’t at our best today to be honest but sometimes when you don’t play that well and pick up the points that’s good enough, and I’ll that today.”
Captain, Adam Jones added: “We didn’t really get to grips with the game today, and didn’t get to the second ball.
“We dug in though and in the second half we showed our strength in depth and ‘ground’ out the victory, and our second goal killed them off. Overall, pleased to get the three points, even though we weren’t at our best.
“We’ve got four tough games coming up now (Malmesbury, Oldlands, Hengrove [if the floodlights are up for this one], Wellington and then Ashton & Backwell) and we’ll have to be at our best for those. We will just have to keep this run of ours going and see where it takes us.”
Cheddar FC news
Cheddar’s eye catching top of table position has been achieved through former league-leaders Wellington having been held to a 2-2 draw by much improved Oldland Abbotonians at the weekend. Should Wellington defeat Portishead on Wednesday evening (22nd February) then they will regain the league leadership, but should the Keynsham defeat Wellington on Saturday (25th February) and the Cheesemen inflict a defeat on mid-table Malmesbury Victoria (Bowdens Park, kick off 2pm) then Cheddar will lead the table again, such is the seemingly complex look of the Toolstation Western League Division One table.
Following Saturday’s match, Cheddar will be hosting their 125th Anniversary dinner, with special guest, former Tottenham Hotspur legend Steve Perryman MBE, who will be addressing a sell-out 100 plus audience on the evening in the clubhouse.
Elsewhere at the weekend Cheddar Reserves lost narrowly (0-1) at Bowdens Park to a hotly disputed penalty against Nailsea United Reserves. This result moves the Reserve team to 12th position in the league on 9 points, although they have a one game advantage over bottom placed Kewstoke Lions who have 8 points from 18 points. The ‘A’ team did not have a game at the weekend.
Also at the weekend, Cheddar Ladies travelled to Wellington in the ‘Chairman’s Cup’ Quarter Final, to play a very strong team in mid-table a division above Cheddar Ladies. With illnesses and other commitments Cheddar were struggling to get a team together with no less than six players unable to play the tie, the Cheesegirls had to shuffle and be strong with the remaining players that they had available. The Cheesegirls had a debut day signing goalkeeper offering to “give it a go”.
Cheddar were under pressure from the whistle but soaked up the pressure but struggled to find their own rhythm. Midway through the first half, following a defensive error the home side were presented a simple tap in and were then awarded a penalty two minutes later for a push. It was 2-0 to Wellington at half time but Cheddar did play some good football in the second half and created some chances but as their steam ran out with no substitutes available, Wellington were constantly rolling five substitutes and they scored four more goals although this was only down to the Cheesegirls becoming very tired and creating their own mistakes, but throughout the match they battled and fought very hard and played their hearts out to a much bigger and stronger team.
Final score: Wellington Ladies 6 Cheddar Ladies 0
Next weekend, (Saturday 25th February) Cheddar Reserves travel to local rivals Winscombe in the Somerset County League Division Two (West) and the ‘A’ team are also away from home (at St George) in the Weston super Mare League Division 4. Both matches kick off at 2.30pm. Cheddar Ladies travel to Penmill for their last away game of the season.