Warminster Town 2 - 1 Cheddar
Les Phillips Cup First Round
Saturday 18th November 2017
All the omens were looking towards a comfortable passage to round two of the Les Philips Cup for Cheddar on Saturday as they eyed up the possibility of a league and cup double which their current form could not rule out writes Kerry Miller.
Warminster on the other hand were on the back of an 11 match streak without a win and had been hammered 5-1 at home by Cheddar only two weeks earlier and with manager Mark Breffit forced to play himself once again home fans had little more than vague optimism on their minds at the kick-off. Breffit’s side had conceded 25 goals in seven previous games but happily for the Wiltshire men there was never any real chance that they would ship goals again as the defence mounted a brave rearguard in the second half to send the visitors back to the Theatre of Cheese with inter-club honour restored.
The Weymouth Street pitch looked heavy at the start but Cheddar began quickly and were using the width with influential midfielder Ricky Bennett’s left foot rarely far from the ball until Town had the first clear chance. Eben Mortimer-Taylor and Reece Collyer combined for Matt Dyer to fire wide from a very promising spot then Breffit drove over from distance. It is very encouraging to see Mark Breffit back playing having sustained a horrific double break injury two and a half years ago which could have cost him his leg, let alone his playing career, but he was in the battle as Cheddar’s Bennett’s free-kick came out to Cleave who lobbed just over.
Cheddar then gave away the initiative when they conceded a needless corner and Collyer’s curler found skipper Kevin Shinn around the far post and he nodded home on 20 minutes, to his obvious delight, he also having returned from major knee surgery recently.
Mortimer-Taylor’s fine work then created space for Lewis Graham to power a header straight at Liam Kingston in the Cheddar goal but the visitors were always looking dangerous and Bennett’s 30 yarder was parried by Nathan Farquharson and cleared away. Graham nodded Collyer’s free-kick wide on the half hour then at the other end Farquharson pulled off a fine save after leading scorer Adam Jones had put Maggs in one on one.
Cheddar still looked the more likely to score and Jones, who had little luck all afternoon, crossed for Danny Griffiths to direct his header across the goal and inches wide and when Cleave was through on goal and put another chance wide, the alarm bells were beginning to ring for the travelling faithful. Bennett then set up Jones who fired a volley over on the turn and to end the entertaining half Mortimer-Taylor broke from outside the clubhouse but scuffed his shot with Kingston beaten.
After the break Cheddar began to lose their shape at times as frustration set in but Cleave was in a good position to pull back for Jones but again his effort took a deflection and went to safety. Warminster were forced to defend deep with Cheddar pressing hard and with a succession of corners and free-kicks they had most of the possession, Maggs firing over once again on the hour.
Five minutes later, somewhat against the run of play Town were two up with a remarkable effort from Collyer who launched a lob from the half way line with Kingston off his line and the ball dropped in, off the post with many in the crowd confused as to what had just happened.
It should have taken the wind out of the visiting sails but after Griffiths had nodded Bennett’s cross over, Graham’s 25 yard effort at the other end almost sealed the win but his shot was inches wide.
With minutes left Cheddar sniffed a way back when Bennett lined up another free-kick from 20 yards and his curling shot went in before anyone could react and it set up a frantic last few minutes but Warminster somehow clung on and will be hoping for a favourable draw in round two.