Cheddar travelled for a midweek game, their first ever in the Somerset Premier Cup, against Larkhall Athletic who were lying fifth in the Premier Division of the Toolstation League.
The Cheesemen were not sure what to expect and started cautiously, offering too much respect to their hosts and were quickly on the back foot with the fast movement and passing of Larkhall very much to the fore. Cheddar’s three man defence was solid though and gradually the rest of the team realised that they were more than capable of matching their opponents. But on 20 minutes, just as Cheddar started to take the game to Larkhall, a long ball out of defence caught the Cheddar defence napping and the onrushing Jason Woodcock was cleverly lobbed from 25 yards to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
This goal seemed to take the caution out of Cheddar and they went at their opponents with real relish, storming forward and looking threatening, especially down the right through Dave Phillips (on his last game before he moves away to Leeds).
However it was from a well struck George Booth corner that the visitors thought they had got back on level terms when a header from Chris Beers was somehow clawed out of his goal by the Larkhall keeper (he was later awarded man on the match by the home side, which shows how well Cheddar played), with the ball coming back to Beers but his shot thumped against the post. A few minutes later a good chance fell to Billy Manning at the far post but the striker somehow got the ball trapped under his feel and the goal was averted.
Words of praise were given at half time and the second half was almost exclusively dominated by Cheddar, though Jason Woodcock made a couple of fantastic saves when the speedy Larks strikers broke clear.
Cheddar’s midfield of Scorse and Green were non-stop in their energy and driving Cheddar forward but it was George Booth who was oozing class, getting on the ball and spraying the ball around to keep the home defence stretched at all time. His partnership down the left with Adam Davies, who in the second half stormed forward at every opportunity, was a constant threat. It was Davies who came closest to eth deserved equaliser when his well struck free kick was well saved by the Larkhall keeper.
Despite their domination Cheddar could not find a way through the experienced defence and had to settle for a defeat, albeit a very honourable one that provided the young Cheesemen with far more positives than negatives. Defensively they had been solid throughout, particularly Josh Underhill who was man of the match for his awesome display. The midfield was a non-stop running display of strength and power, nicely mixed with some subtlety. The wide players were a constant threat and up front Manning and Jamie Howson worked tirelessly to create gaps in the home defence, without the reward their efforts deserved.
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