Cheesemen's FA Cup dream over at first hurdle

PUBLISHED: 09:22 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 09 August 2017

Cheddar FC.

Cheddar FC.

Archant

Cheddar were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle at home to Toolstation Premier League side Willand Rovers.

There was no FA Cup romance for Cheddar as they were beaten at the first hurdle by Toolstation Premier League side Willand Rovers

In an enthralling match, watched by an impressive and noisy 173 crowd, the game was evenly balanced until the last 13 minutes as he visitors struck twice in the closing stages, Rovers former Barnstaple Town striker James Blake netting both goals.

Earlier, with just five minutes played, the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead, Joe Curtis’s goal bound shot from 10 yards was brilliantly tipped round the post by keeper Kieran Webster.

Adam Jones and Danny Griffiths had half-chances for Cheddar in the goal-less first-half.

After the break, a spectacular Craig Mawford 35-yard free kick was well held by visiting keeper Mike Searle, before Rovers’ centre forward Blake headed just over.

With an hour gone, Jones hit a curling shot just wide after he had linked well with fellow striker Robbi Maggs.

This pulsating cup tie was to change in pace just minutes as Ricky Bennett was sent off for receiving two cautions in the space of less than three minutes.

The sending off had an obvious effect on the home side as they reorganised themselves, but the visitors were handed something of a fortuitous lead on 77 minutes.

Brad Ansden’s chip into the Cheddar box connected with defender Lewis Matthews head and flew on to the angle of the crossbar and upright and Blake dashed in to force the ball over the line.

The home side had a wonderful chance to equalise with 10 minutes remaining as Chris Coombs free kick was just missed by both Maggs and Griffiths.

Further drama occurred on 85 minutes as Cheddar captain George Booth fell badly following a collision and was taken to hospital with a serious looking injury as play was held up for a good five minutes.

With minutes remaining on the referee’s watch, Willand secured a home tie in the next round against Southern League side Bristol Manor Farm, Blake finishing well from close range.

Despite exiting the FA cup at the first stage for the second successive season, Cheddar can hold their heads high after this brave and battling performance, as they competed on equal footing for long periods with their visitors.

Cheddar start their league season on Saturday with a visit to Oldland Abbotonians (3pm) and host Welton Rovers for their first home league game on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Cheddar Reserves play Burnham United in their first home game of the season on Saturday at Bowdens Park (3pm).

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