CHEESEMEN GRAB THEIR FIRST POINT IN THREE GAMES THANKS TO STUNNING MAWFORD EQUALISER IN LAST TWO MINUTES

Toolstation Western League Division One Match Report

Saturday 13th January 2018

CHEDDAR 3 RADSTOCK TOWN 3

Whenever these sides have met during the past three seasons, the match is either tinged with excitement or controversy or both, and this match was certainly true to form for these promotion hopefuls who took it upon themselves to serve up an early New Year cracker for the Cheesemen’s first home game for some six weeks.   On the last occasion Cheddar played at home the supporters were treated to four goals, and with this game serving up a further six, then Bowdens Park would appear to be the place to be for fans seeking goals and entertainment.

True enough, Cheddar (in seventh place and with games in hand prior to the start of the game) adapted to the sticky conditions quicker than their fourth placed opponents, who had understandably caught the eye with their recent emphatic 3-0 victory over Welton Rovers, as the home side’s new signing, Ross McNab, making his home debut, who had had just two minutes earlier narrowly missed the target, hammered his side in front from six yards latching on to Adam Jones’s back header. McNab went close again on 22 minutes although goalkeeper Glen Murley was unable to hold the striker’s stinging drive and midfielder Stephen Pennington was first to react, driving the lose ball home from close range, giving Murley no chance.

Cheddar could perhaps be forgiven that after having scored two quick fire goals in the opening quarter, that the game was as good as won, although they equally neglected to remember that the game wasn’t over until the final whistle, and they really ought to have learned this from previous encounters with this good, hard-working Radstock team, that there is never an easy game at this level. The visitors, as is spurned by this two-goal set back were soon back in this game less than two minutes after conceding, Fin Haines scoring a quality individual goal, appearing to effortlessly weave past two defenders to slot past Kingston after Jack Biddiscombe had been afforded two much space, and too little attention on the right flank, allowing the nippy winger to deliver a relatively unchallenged cross.

On 38 minutes a telepathic move of some note between Jones and Ricky Bennett saw the latter unleash a powerful 20-yard shot that agonisingly served past the woodwork, but then with less than five minutes remaining on the referee’s watch the visitors were again on level terms.  A needless looking back pass form the Cheddar midfield caused all kinds of issues for the Cheddar backline and Morgan Skipp, running in from deep, didn’t waste his opportunity and lobbed the outrushing Kingston as Town reduced the deficit after having been two goals down just twenty minutes earlier.

The second period of the game notably increased in pace if inasmuch in style, as both sides huffed and puffed for possession, with both sides going close to adding a decisive third goal.  On 50 minutes, Town’s Will Stead went close with Kingston saving at the second attempt and Chris Coombs who had been moved up front to a more customary wide-attacking role, forced Murley into an impressive back-peddling save as the goalkeeper arched backwards, appearing to be off-balance but still managed to tip Coombs’s effort over the cross bar.  The hard-working Adam Jones had the ball in the Radstock net on 73 minutes but to be fair to the assistant match official who adjudged the Cheddar frontman to have strayed offside, the official was up with play and had to be given the benefit of the doubt.  Two minutes later though the burly Jones running at full pace, to connect with substitute Joe Grant’s low throw, hit a goal bound shot that beat the goalkeeper but was bravely diverted off the goal-line by the Radstock central-defender and captain Tom Stocks.

With the home side continuing to push upfield for a third goal they were again to leave themselves overly open for a counter punch and this is exactly what happened with 14 minutes remaining. Matt Minnis was felled in the Cheddar box following Danny Griffith’s last-ditch tackle and Town’s leading goal scorer added to his tally sending Kingston the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Sensing the game was won, the visitors changed their formation in an attempt to close down the game and steal all three points but captain Craig Mawford, so often Cheddar’s talisman hit a thunderous free kick that the goalkeeper did exceptionally well to turn round the post to safety and then with just two minutes of normal time remaining, Mawford was giving the sort of opportunity that the player of his class doesn’t miss, and hitting the all-important equaliser from 10-yards after the match official had correctly noticed a pass-back in the box hand been  handled by the goalkeeper. The goal was simply a stunning effort and the Cheddar captain crashed his effort into the net despite the close attentions of six defenders and goalkeeper Murley trying to prevent the ball crossing the line.

A draw however was just about a fair result in this all-action game as both teams pushed for a winner as the minutes ticked away.  Defences were so often the Achilles heel for both teams, whose motives on the day were quite clearly to go on the all-out attack but it is thought highly likely that that they will both be in the mix when the season ends in April.

Man of the match:  Ross McNab (Cheddar)

With six draws in the league on Saturday the Cheesmen remain in seventh position, although should they achieve a win at sixth placed Devizes on Tuesday night (16th January) (kick-off: 7.30pm) that they could well advance their league position, possibly as high as fourth position.  

On Saturday (20th January), Shaun Potter’s side are again away from home with a match at fourteenth placed Wincanton Town.  On Saturday week (27th January) the Cheesemen play a third successive away match (at Malmesbury Victoria) before returning to Bowdens Park for two homes games in a week (30th January vs Warminster Town and Saturday 3rd February vs local rivals Ashton and Backwell).

Following the match, manager Shaun Potter spoke to the club website, saying:

“It was a tough one to take today, we started very well, we were in control at 2-0 up and then got a little bit complacent and allowed Radstock back into the game.  We came out second half a little bit sluggish and again allowed Radstock to take the lead, we showed a bit of fight towards the end and managed to get a draw, but this is a game we all know we should have won, we paid the price for not being switched on for 90 minutes.  it’s something we will learn from and put right, we’ve got a lot of games in a short period of time coming up which I think we need, it will help us get that flow back and get some consistency back into our game”!

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