Cheddar left empty-handed in league opener at Hallen

Cheddar manager Mike Dangerfield.

Cheddar manager Mike Dangerfield. - Credit: Josh Thomas

Cheddar slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Hallen as the new Toolstation Western League Division One season got underway on Saturday.

With several senior players leaving and being replaced by a number of untested talents, new manager Michael Dangerfield found himself fielding a young line-up and blooding no fewer than five players who had come through the ranks of the Under-18s and reserves.

To add to Dangerfield's woes, he was also faced with five further players being unavailable through injury or late summer holidays.

The Cheesemen were given a major incentive after taking an early lead on two minutes through Morgan Bacon, the youngster bravely chasing down the hosts goalkeeper, winning the ball under pressure before tapping the ball into an empty net.

But almost immediately the home side retaliated, forcing a good stop from Kieran Webster, and following a period of sustained pressure however, Hallen forced an equaliser, Webster initially pushing a shot onto the crossbar but an alert inside forward being on hand to tap home.

Cheddar were forced into a change soon after, with Webster leaving the field of play with suspected concussion after a head injury.

Dangerfield took over in goal and Hallen took the lead with a speculative effort on the half-hour mark but minutes the visitors had an opportunity to draw level just before the break when Kris Bell was fouled in the box.

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George Fairchild’s penalty crashed off the inside the crossbar and was cleared, before Bell and Adam Davies produced good efforts but were thwarted by the home defence on both occasions.

Dangerfield was penalised by the referee for carrying the ball out of the penalty area and Hallen went 3-1 up from the resultant free-kick.

But Lewis Chappell turned his man well on the hour mark, using the outside of his boot to thread the ball to Bacon, who wrongfooted the home keeper before hitting home his second goal of the game to reduce the deficit.

Despite some brave and industrious running by the young Cheddar team they were unable to gain an equaliser but should hold their heads high after an extremely diligent performance.

Cheddar travel to Hengrove on Tuesday (August 2) before welcoming Portishead Town to Bowden’s Park for their first home game of the season on Saturday (August 6, 3pm).