Fresh winds blowing for Cheadle Heath Nomads - Feature Article

Fri 9th December 2022 | Cheadle Heath Nomads
By Jay Cooper

In the First Division South this season, Cheadle Heath Nomads have been something of an anomaly with their results. At the time of writing, they've drawn in league competition at least twice more than any of their compatriots, and some of these draws have been mightily impressive, to their credit. We've seen a 3-3 thriller against Cammell Laird, where Lewis McKinney made himself a hat-trick hero, and they've even held table-topping Wythenshawe Amateurs to stalemate.

However, a detrimental side effect to all this is that there has been precious few room for wins in the league this season. They've registered 2 so far - a 3-1 dismissal of Ellesmere Rangers in their own back yard, and a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Rocester on home soil. The first of these wins only came on Bonfire Night - a full 15 games into the league season.

This doesn't make for pretty reading as far as the table is concerned. Cheadle Heath Nomads are currently the final team in the relegation zone, ahead of both Rocester and Foley Meir, but behind everyone else. This undesirable situation facilitated a managerial change in the eyes of the board, and a 2-1 defeat to Abbey Hulton United would prove to be enough to convince the higher-ups to part ways with previous manager Jake Davies.

Enter, Rory Fallon. The new gaffer took a bit of convincing, but took to the dugout at the The Heath ahead of the penultimate league game that Nomads would play in November. That was plying host to Rocester, and, as previously mentioned, they got off on the best possible foot, winning 4-0. Great start! Up next was Ashville, slightly higher in the league, and they would prove to be too much on the day, with Nomads slipping to a 4-2 defeat away from home despite being 2-0 up at half time.

Not the end of the world by any means, and Fallon knows it. "It's a great club", he said, "it's a family, community club, it's got cracking facilities, the pitch is fantastic, and the main thing is that there's really good people behind the scenes. The chairman is building things steadily, with the U18's, the reserves - everything is in place. There's been a few players this season who've come in from the reserves, so you can see that the pathway is there."

Talent coming to football clubs from within their own system is much rarer than it used to be, especially at elite level. In the NWCFL, it's a vital part of most clubs frameworks. However, there's no problem with venturing out to find a solution to any on-field problems, as Fallon knows.

"I'm always looking at strengthening the team, and trying to bring in players in the right areas, and that's something that will continue over the coming weeks and months. The key has got to be quality - players who can come and improve the team. We've seen a number of players over the last few weeks, and the only ones we've brought in are the ones who we know bring something we need to the table."

Since Fallon's arrival, there have been a number of new faces through the door, and most of them already have a history with the manager. Kwame Osigwe, Robel Kesete and Nathan Whalley have all joined the club having played under Fallon for Glossop's U21's last year,. There are 2 other not-so-new arrivals, with Harrison Cunningham re-joining the club after a stint with New Mills, and Olvy Belezika has returned too. The last of the new signings announced between the games against Rocester and Ashville was Byers Wilkes from Atherton LR.

So, 1 win and 1 defeat from his first 2 games in charge. For a team with only 1 win in their previous 16 in the league before Fallon's arrival, that's not a bad start. Up next would be Abbey Hey away from home, and this game is one that I was in attendance for. Nomads were pretty objectively the better team in the first half until a lapse in concertation led to Abbey's Jordyn Fitton looping the ball over Morgan Piper.

Nomads hit back right on the stroke of half time, with one of the new(ish) boys, Harrison Cunningham heading home from a corner. In the second half, Abbey came out swinging and were dominant, and it payed off when they took the lead through substitute Elliott Fenton scoring with his first touch. However, deep into added time, Nomads showed their resilience, and a strike by Isaac Graham was poked in at the back post by substitute Arak Pociask.

So, another draw, but a draw against last season's promotion hopefuls on their own turf, and a last-minute equaliser always makes it feel more like a win. So what is all this doing for the fans? I spoke to a few in attendance at the Abbey Stadium to find out. Roy, who's been going on Cheadle Heath Nomads games for years, told me that "we're better than our position, but we need to prove it more. We've got to get out of this relegation issue and I think that we will do. We've got the new manager in, with a few new players, and I think we'll start to look better than we have so far.

"We're a little short up front, in my opinion. Under the previous manager, I, personally, wasn't very happy with the setup and i thought we always looked likely to give a goal away. If you can't score, and you look like you'll concede, then you aren't going to win very many. Drawing, however, isn't as bad, There might not be as much needed to turn those into wins, and when we do get three points, we can use it as a launching pad. We needed a change, and Rory really fits the bill, and so far the signs are good. I think he can take us comfortably to mid-table, and from there we can set our stall out for next season."

It seems that, behind the scenes, on the touchline and in the stands, everyone at Cheadle Heath Nomads is looking up as well as looking forwards, but Fallon is also being rationale about the clubs immediate future. "The priority is to stay in the division at the moment - anything beyond that isn't worth speculating too much about right now. The main thing is getting those wins and climbing the table, and we can look at things further afield after that." To most involved with the club, the belief is there in spades that they will survive this season, and the direction that the club takes if and when that happens will be interesting to see.


Image Credit: Twitter - @CheadleNomads

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