Fine win marred by changing room theft

Cheddar “A” vs Wrington Redhill Reserves

Weston & Super Mare District Division 3

6 December 2014 2.15pm

The reserves weathered an early storm to extend their unbeaten start to the season to nine games, eventually running out comfortable 4-0 winners against an energetic Cheddar side. A result that should have lead to an elated dressing room was overshadowed by events off the pitch, though, as both teams returned to find that their belongings had been stolen by opportunist thieves.

As a result of the recent rain and the previous week’s cancellation due to Nailsea’s failure to raise a side, the reserves took to the pitch for the first time in over a month. Manager Julian Moss was able to field a strong side – the settled back three of Nick Curtis, Phil Williams and Callum Briggs once again re-united to protect goalkeeper James Vowles, which they did admirably throughout. Briggs retained his remarkable record of not having conceded a goal this season, and when captain Williams was forced off at half time with a knee injury, Dan Burnett slotted in seamlessly to secure Wrington’s fourth clean sheet of the season.

The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges – possibly reaping the benefits of having played more recently – and Wrington were grateful to keeper Vowles for a sharp save at his near post early on, and Curtis for breaking up a promising attack by taking a yellow card for a deliberate handball with his big hand.

Having shown resilience to stay in the game, the away side finally began to find their rhythm and passing game, and went ahead on 25 minutes when Mick Edmunds slipped a fine pass through for striker Tom Johnson. Johnson still had plenty to do, as he drove forward and fired a clinical shot past the Cheddar keeper, low into the bottom left hand corner, for his fourth of the season.

Now showing more confidence, Wrington went into half-time 2-0 up, this time from the opposite flank as Kyle Selman and Joe Moore combined with a neat one-two to set Moore through to cut inside a lunging challenge and fire low past the keeper for his fifth of the season.

The returning Phil Hartnup had been pulling the strings in the middle, sitting slightly deeper than Moore and Edmunds to provide protection for Wrington’s defence. Hartnup’s month away from football had allowed him to fully recover from the hamstring injury that had blighted him in previous games, but although the hamstring held strong, Hartnup still failed to last the full 90 minutes as he was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language on 72 minutes.

The game could have swung back into Cheddar’s favour from that point, but moments later Moore received the ball in midfield and turned away from the crowded centre with a neat Cruyff turn to slip a pass through to Paul Faulkner. Faulkner, who had put in a typically hard-working shift all afternoon, made no mistake in slotting calmly past the keeper from a one-on-one situation.

Five minutes later, the game was finally put beyond doubt, as substitute McMullen replaced Briggs after his customary bout of cramp to fire high into the net having beaten the offside trap – Johnson turning provider on this occasion, as McMullen became Wrington’s 13th different goalscorer of the season.

At the start of the afternoon, Moss had called upon his players to put in a performance to keep their places in the side, and he will have been delighted with the work-rate and quality on display. Despite all the positives Wrington could take from an excellent performance, though, in the end the game served only as a warning to all teams across the region – check with your hosts whether your dressing room will be locked during the game, and where possible keep valuables with you at the touchline.

FULL TIME Cheddar 0-4 Wrington

Wrington: J. Vowles, Briggs (McMullen), Williams (C) (Burnett), Curtis, Faulkner, Moore, Edmunds, Hartnup, Selman, Johnson, C. Vowles.

MOTM: Faulkner