CHARD A, playing their first league fixture since mid December, produced a disjointed performance as they lost 2-1 away to Sidmouth and Ottery C in South East 2 of the Davis Wood league.
Playing the first half into a dazzling sun did not help Chard’s cause as they sought to blow away the cobwebs and to rediscover their short passing game.
The home side had played the week before and looked the more confident in the early stages as they probed at Chard’s defence.
Clear-cut chances at either end were at a premium in the first 20 minutes but when Sidmouth took the lead, it was not altogether unexpected as they looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
Chard were indebted to Berge Balian in goal for a couple of fine saves to prevent Sidmouth adding to their tally.
For Chard, captain Gareth Eggle was leading by example and covering a huge number of yards in midfield but too much of the team’s play involved long ball which gave the home defence an even chance of picking up the ball rather than finding forwards Adam Veitch and Dan Stone in the D.
The second half saw an improvement and more close interchange of passes as Chard began to rediscover their fluency and cohesion, the most profitable line of attack being down the right wing, with Danny Grabham, Trevor Goss and Harry Felgate linking well and Eggle looking to create a better angle of attack with some expansive passes from dead ball situations.
There was an element of luck about Chard’s equaliser, Stone netting with a second effort after the ball had hit his feet, but the goal was reward for some sustained pressure.
From the restart, Balian dived bravely to win a one on one with a Sidmouth forward and he was in action again soon after as the home side upped the tempo of their game.
The lead was restored with around 15 minutes left, a penalty corner shot squeezing under the diving Balian.
Chard’s defence weathered the threat from further penalty corners and the team raised its game once more to put Sidmouth’s defence under sustained pressure from both wings as the minutes ticked away.
Eggle praised the work rate and commitment shown in the second half performance but this needs to be replicated from the start of the match next week at home to Minehead.
Chard: Berge Balian, Dave Lury, Chris Knight, Danny Grabham, Paul Tratt, Steve Mahoney, Trevor Goss, Gareth Eggle (capt), James Spurdle, Kyle Anderson, Jason Goddard, Harry Felgate, Dan Stone (vice), Adam Veitch, Harvey Dening.