WEAK defending cost Cheadle Town dearly in this home clash with Audley in the Staffordshire County Senior League Premier Division on Saturday.
Cheadle manager Mark Alcock was having to make a number of phone calls on match day to try and get a starting eleven, with so many players unavailable
In the end he managed to get two players on the bench, and made himself available.
Audley were keeping good possession and and their movement off the ball was at a good tempo, with the Cheadle midfield having to work hard to combat the visitors threat.
A corner kick to Audley saw Marc Barnett on the far post head the ball across the face of the Cheadle goal, but Matt Anthony was able to get a good hand to tip the ball away from danger and then dive down to regain possession. Good passing from Audley set up a chance for Andrew Smith on the edge of the Cheadle goal area but he lost his balance as he shot and his effort flew high and wide.
Dale Taylor was having to defend well for Cheadle as Audley continued to attack down the right but the defender was holding his nerve.
Cheadle's Alex Wood almost created a chance for himself in the 43rd minute when he lifted the ball over the central defender and then then tried to volley the ball into the net but he pulled his shot wide. The hosts took the lead in the 56th minute when Dan Rooksby sent a corner kick into the Audley goal area, where Mark Kent volleyed and Adam Cartlidge headed over the line.
Cheadle sustained the pressure and forced another corner in the 57th minute and it took a firm header from Richard Beech to clear the danger.
Cheadle's lead was given away cheaply in the 61st minute, when a weak drive from Matthew Barlow saw Anthony make an error of judgement and gifted the ball to Marc Barnett to drive into the net from close range.
Kent was heavily challenged on the edge of the Audley goal area and was awarded a free kick. Rooksby shot low into the defending wall and a good attacking option was wasted.
A long throw from Wood saw Rob Heath head on, but the ball cleared over the bar as Cheadle tried to get back into the lead in the 70th minute.
Jake Alcock held the ball up well and won Cheadle another corner kick on the left, Rooksby played a great ball towards the near post, but no Cheadle player was alive to attack it and the keeper Matthew Holmes was thankful to collect unchallenged.
Cheadle then gave away another poor goal in the 85th minute. Firstly giving away a needless free kick to the left of their goal area, and then with poor defending at the far post allowing Craig Mason to fire home from close range.
Cheadle tried to rescue a point but Audley stood their ground and left the Cheadle management team of Mark Alcock and Alan Beaman fuming as a result of this gifted win to the visitors.
Cheadle Town : Matt Anthony, Matt Nutt, Dale Taylor, Jon Evans, Adam Cartlidge, Rob Heath, Dan Rooksby, Alex Wood, Jake Alcock, Jake Perks, Rory Bradbury, Mark Kent, Mark Alcock.
Audley : Matthew Holmes, Andrew Smith, Lyndon Hughes, Craig Mason, Matthew Baker, Alex Cotton, Richard Beech, Jordan Beech, Shane Williamson, Matthew Barlow, Marc Barnett, Daniel Green.