Winscombe AFC pick up first pre-season win against local rivals Cheddar

Match action from Winscombe v Cheddar at the Recreation Ground.

Match action from Winscombe v Cheddar at the Recreation Ground. - Credit: Alan Cooper

Winscombe AFC picked up their first victory of pre-season with a 2-1 win against Cheddar in an interesting pre-season derby at the Recreation Ground on Tuesday.

Both teams had played four winless pre-season games prior to kick-off, so it was much a case of who would make the early running and show promise.

And with the visitors having an unfamiliar, youthful look to their line-up, the Somerset League Division One side, containing several experienced heads, gave the impression of wanting to make it a testing evening for their higher-plane opponents.

Watched by an expectant vocal crowd of around 100 the hosts demonstrated their early willingness in front of their home supporters on eight minutes.

Sef Williams weaved his way through a hesitant Cheddar defence to shoot goalwards but was thwarted by Kieran Webster’s big hands, the custodian scurrying the ball to safety. 

All smiles for Winscombe AFC as they pose for the camera.

All smiles for Winscombe AFC as they pose for the camera. - Credit: Alan Cooper

The Cheesemen's Lewis Chappell – full of running for the visitors – had an opportunity of his own two minutes later, but his angled shot bounced to safety off courtesy of an upright.

Apart from Chappell’s early effort, little was seen of the Toolstation Western League Division One side in the opening half hour as the hosts made all the early running, and on 28 minutes, Jory Cureton could have put the hosts in front but misdirected his header when well placed.

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On 33 minutes a Stan Morris piledriver from all of 20 yards caused some consternation in the Cheddar backline, and on the balance of play the visitors were on the ropes. 

Former Cheddar player Billy Manning’s thudded half volley was next to find the target although his effort was well saved by Webster.

But the warning signs were there, and the home side were ahead a minute later, with Rob Carraway nipping in between two defenders to prod the ball past Webster after a poor pass with the Cheddar backline causing problems of their own making.

All smiles for Cheddar as they pose for the camera.

All smiles for Cheddar as they pose for the camera. - Credit: Alan Cooper

Winscombe went further ahead on the hour, as 16-year-old Brandon Gorka – a young player of great promise – shot firmly past Webster from just inside the 18-yard box.

It was difficult to know which of the two clubs were higher in the non-league pyramid as the home side carved out a number of opportunities.

Manning and midfield accomplice Morris gave the Cheddar backline a torrid time on occasions, but the visitors finally appeared to find their rhythm in the last 15-20 minutes of the game.

Chappell again went close before substitute Scott Harman, and last season’s reserve team striker, fired home strongly with 10 minutes remaining.

Cheddar – buoyed by Harman’s strike – were noticeably keen to try to get something from the game, but it was not to be as Morgan Bacon’s late effort skidded past Danny Bullock’s left-hand post.

Winscombe AFC manager Rikki Hutt.

Winscombe AFC manager Rikki Hutt. - Credit: Alan Cooper

The result was a shot in the arm for Winscombe and delighted manager Hutt, who said: "It was a very good showing by my team and it was good to see many of them get a good 90 minutes of football in. 

"It was the first time in pre-season that I was able to field a team that I wanted, and we adapted to a good style of play that we have been working on for some time. 

"We didn’t look out of place at all against a team two leagues above us, and yes, I was very pleased. I was delighted for young Brandon Gorka who took his goal very well.”

Winscombe now have three further friendlies (against Highridge, Worle and Chard) before they kick-off their 100th anniversary season on Saturday August 13 with Castle Cary their opponents. 

Michael Dangerfield’s Cheddar face the difficult prospect of two tough looking away fixtures in the space of four days of the new season, at Hallen on Saturday (July 30) before a journey to Hengrove Athletic on Tuesday, August 2.