CHARD Town manager Adam Fricker is confident his side will enjoy a better campaign in the Toolstation Western league next season.

The Robins finished 15th in the First Division after signing off with a 1-0 home defeat by Cribbs on Saturday.

But Fricker believes his squad has the ability to finish much higher in the league next season.

Fricker, who replaced Nick Flory as manager before Christmas, said: “I’m not going to make any predictions because I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure but we certainly have the talent to finish in the top six.

“We’ve been unlucky with injuries and suspensions this year and I’m hoping that with a good pre-season behind us we’ll be able to hit the ground running.”

Two players who were particularly missed through injury during the season were Andy Martin and striker Sam Clark.

Fricker added: “To have those two back and firing will be like having two new players.

“Sam was missing for four or five months which probably cost us about 20 goals.”

Chard enjoyed the best of the attacking play against Cribbs but conceded from virtually the last kick of the game.

It was a day when neither side dealt successfully with the extremely windy conditions, both apparently unable to play the short passing game that was needed.

And when chances did come they were spurned at either end.

Chard started brightly and Oscar Latas sent a shot just wide after ten minutes before another effort hit the crossbar.

Chard had a great chance to take the lead ahead ten minutes later when Mark Armstrong was brought down inside the box but Sam Clark’s penalty kick was stopped by Cribbs ‘keeper Matt Turner who gobbled up the rebound.

At the other end Robins’ ‘keeper Scott Wells-Burr was soon called into action to pull off two good saves.

Early in the second half Cribbs created two more good chances, James Clarke shooting wide and Dave Gilroy firing over the bar.

Chard replied with a cross by Latas headed straight at the ‘keeper after 58 minutes then five minutes later Armstrong shot over the bar.

Wells-Burr was again in action in the 76th with a great save resulting in a corner.

With Chard pressing for a late goal Cribbs broke away and Jordan Yeo was in position to squeeze the ball between the ‘keeper and post to secure the points.

With time running out Chard had a last chance to equalize but Ben Haines sliced the ball over the bar from close range.

Chard: Scott Wells-Burr, Ben Haines, Darren Hutchings, Nathan Warren, Sam Spurway, Leigh Bailey, Mark Armstrong, George Chlopecki, Sam Clark, Richard Hebditch and Oscar Latas. Subs used: Andrew Martin (for Warren 80m) Shaun Wells-Burr (for Spurway 80m); not used: Gary Warren, Jamie Barfoot & Ryan Parris.