The unpredictable weather that has been playing having with the festive season fixture list struck a further blow at the weekend, the Cheesemen having the ignominy of further match postponed when their match against Warminster Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Bowdens Park, causing even more headaches for the club’s hardworking groundsman Russell Heal. Saturday’s postponement has in effect meant that their last match day action on home soil was almost six weeks ago when they defeated Oldland Abbotonians 4-0 on 2nd December. Matches after that outstanding win and team performance have seen Shaun Potter’s team suffer an abandonment at Devizes and defeats on the road at Welton Rovers and Roman Glass, as well as three successive league postponements. Matches will of course be rearranged, but Shaun Potter’s team, with just one game under their belts since mid-December, now find themselves in catch up mode with re-arranged matches at Devizes (16th January); Bishop Sutton (6th February) both away and home games with Sherborne Town (20th February) and now Warminster Town (30th January). Due to a fixture re-arrangement headache the Bowdens Park club find they have dropped to seventh position in the Toolstation League Division One, albeit they have four games in hand over league leaders, Westbury United, but are scheduled to be back in league action on Saturday (13th January) when they host fourth placed Radstock Town, who are just three points ahead of the Cheesemen who have a game in hand over their visitors. Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.
Speaking with the club website at the weekend, manager Shaun Potter, reviewing his team’s season so far said:
“We’ve had a good overall season so far; a shaky start perhaps but since the Sherborne game in September we have been very good. We were rock bottom in early September, so to even be in the promotion mix now is a great achievement and it’s what the lads deserve. Since taking on the job on a permanent basis I’ve tried to give the lads some belief and put some enjoyment back into the game and the players have responded really well. In my opinion we are the best footballing side in the league, so the winter months are usually the trickiest for a side like us, but we have dug in and picked up some great results. The last two games haven’t quite gone as we had planned and the Christmas period was a little bit stop-start due to postponements which hasn’t really helped but these lads have a great attitude and those two defeats have really hurt them so I’m expecting a big response this month. We have quite a few games in January which will only be good for us as we look to get back to winning ways and put another run together. My aim is of course to get promotion this season but more than that, it’s to enjoy the game every week and play good football. We do that by being consistent and sticking to our principles. The players trust the philosophy and there is a real belief that we can win every game we play. We take it game by game and try not to look too far ahead; we know that if we perform week in, week out the end goal is inevitable. It’s a great club to be involved in and I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go in the next few seasons”
What was particularly impressive was the evidence of high team morale and an excellent spirit this weekend, as the full first team squad gathered as one at a leading gym in Weston super Mare at the weekend to undertake a period of strenuous exercise and ‘Boxercise’ training.
Elsewhere last weekend (6th January) the Reserve team continued their recent good form with a great 2-0 win at Tunley Athletic. Here are assistant manager Mike Carpenter’s thoughts on the game:
Cheddar Reserves went into the game with an unchanged squad for the fourth successive game. Tunley however started the brightest earning an early free from just outside the box which went uncapitalised. From that moment it was all Cheddar; the midfield of Callum French, Tom Manning and John Edwards dictated play, moving the ball freely and creating vast opportunities in the final third
The deadlock was broken on 27 minutes when Manning found Hughes out wide and with a lot to do he managed to get in a cross-shot which aided by a small deflection found the back of the net. The Cheesemen Reserves had several attempts on goal throughout the half and through Billy Manning and John Edwards, but these were to no avail.
The second half began, and Cheddar started to make their presence felt with substitute Connell Edwards making an immediate impact in the defensive line. The width of Hughes and Selway-Joseph was causing early problems for the home defence. After ten minutes second half play, Hughes was found by a brilliant French through ball, but the striker hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper. The Cheese maintained their pressure with substitute Tom Caitlin hitting the bar and the Tunley goalkeeper pulling off some fine saves.
Cheddar’s second goal came on 67 minutes, Tom Manning finding his namesake Billy with a delightful chipped pass and the latter made no mistake, slotting the ball past the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty box. The visitors remained well disciplined and retained their shape, sticking to their game plan, and could easily have gone for more goals. The last few minutes of the game were played out with neither side pushing for goals with Sam Talbot in the Cheddar goal a virtual bystander to another good performance.
Speaking to the website after the game, Mike Carpenter said:
“The boys did a great job, and all realise the job in hand regarding our strong promotion push. Today we could have thrown it away looking for goals, but we remained well disciplined and kept it safe with the result going our way. Our focus is now onto the next game to look for those next three points”
Meanwhile, the club have announced some important diary dates for the Spring.
The club are to hold their Annual Presentation and Awards Evening on Saturday evening 28th April, starting at 7.00 for 7.30pm, and two weeks afterwards are to hold their very special 125th Anniversary weekend, which is to take the form of two successive evenings in a marquee at the club’s Bowdens Park ground. The first of two major events to hosted by the club is to take place on Friday 18th May when the club have literally pulled off what they consider something of a coup, when they are to welcome former Arsenal and England top name Ray Parlour to a Sportsman’s Evening. The eloquent Ray Parlour who is additionally current talkSPORT and Sky TV pundit is expected to be big draw for the local public and will be accompanied by a top comedian. A ‘Harvest Home’ styled dinner dance that will feature top entertainment will take place on the Saturday night (19th May). The club have advised that ticketing arrangements together with further news on these major events will follow shortly here on the club website and its Facebook www.Facebook.com/CheddarFootballlClub
Finally, onto the weekend (Saturday 13th January), with just the first team in action (as reported earlier in this update the Cheesemen are in action at Bowdens Park for the first time since early December with a home Toolstation League Division One clash against fourth placed Radstock Town, kick-off is at 3pm) Both the Reserve team and the ‘A’ team are without a match this weekend, with the Under 18’s match on Tuesday night (9th January) also having seen a late call-off due to an unsuitable playing surface.