Cheddar blow two-goal lead in exciting draw at Lebeq United

Manager Craig Mawford during Cheddar's match at Lebeq United.

Manager Craig Mawford during Cheddar's match at Lebeq United. - Credit: Alan Cooper

Cheddar blew away a two-goal lead to pick up a share of the points against in-form Lebeq United at Oaklands Park on Saturday.

It all started so well for the Cheesemen when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box in the opening minute, following a trip on Robbie Maggs.

Ace-marksman Ricky Bennett thudded a stinging finish into the net spinning off the inside of an upright past the flailing arms of goalkeeper Ahmed Ouammi.

Unbeaten in their last three outings and showing impressive cohesion, United hit back and on four minutes, defender Callum Laird was forced to head off the goalline from Josh Williams’ goal bound effort.

Less than a minute later, however, the home side had equalised when Williams split the Cheddar defence to fire past Dan Jackson from 10-yards.

Cheddar restored their lead on 17 minutes when Ethan Reed’s sublime pass found Harry Taylor.

He jinked into the final third and impressively flicked the ball over the head of Jack Baber before hitting a screaming crossfield shot into the net, his third strike of the season.

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On 25 minutes, Lebeq forward Sacha Tong was clean through on goal in a one-on-one situation with Dan Jackson, but Cheddar goalkeeper’s response was to pull off a save of the utmost bravery, arching back to divert Tong’s fierce shot to safety. A top drawer save if there ever was one.

On 30 minutes Ricky Bennett executed a superbly driven free-kick on the right-angled edge of the penalty box which swerved in the air before nestling into the corner of the net, for his third goal of the campaign.

The hosts reduced the deficit on 35 minutes, their outstanding performer and inside forward Zach Young created space for himself 25 yards from goal before rocketing his shot past Jackson with an incredible strike.

After a first half of so much promise, Tong nipped in to bring the scores level within seconds of the restart.

The visitors felt captain Callum Laird had been fouled in the build-up to the goal, but the match official was unaverred.

Cheddar had two opportunities to gain all three points towards the end of the second-half.

Firstly, Maggs would have been annoyed with himself with a less than perfect finish after being played in by substitute Nathanial Groom.

And substitute Oli Southwell failed to hit the target when well positioned as Craig Mawford’s side were held to a 3-3 draw.

Cheddar are set to travel to Dorset for their next league fixture on Tuesday January 18 when they visit Gillingham Town at 7:30pm.

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