CHARD A were massively outplayed in terms of possession and scoring opportunities against Ashmoor A in South East 2 of the Davis Wood league but battled their way to a 4-4 draw.
The defence withstood 21 penalty corners with only one goal conceded from these and that an own goal, the ball deflecting into the net off Steve Mahoney’s stick.
Ashmoor are a side built around youth and Chard’s older players had to draw upon every ounce of their experience and commitment to compete.
The home side took the initiative from the first whistle and their fast pace of play had Chard struggling but hanging in there with gritty determination.
The front players were feeding off scraps but, from one of their rare forays into the Ashmoor D, a shot on goal was blocked just short of the line by a defender’s feet and Dan Stone converted the penalty stroke with aplomb.
Within a few minutes Chard were two up, Stone the provider of a cross which Gareth Eggle steered wide of the flat footed keeper with a first time touch on his reverse stick.
Elation was shortlived as Ashmoor’s next attack produced their first goal, a shot from just inside the D deflecting into the goal off Chris Knight’s stick.
Although Chard continued to be on the back foot, Stone restored the two goal advantage with a brilliant piece of individualism.
Collecting a pass at the top of the D, he held off the attentions of three defenders, twisting one way and then the other, to create space for a dipping shot from 15 yards.
There were only a couple of minutes to half time but Ashmoor snatched their second with the last action.
Callum Bailey in goal had already made some excellent saves and clearances and would go on to make more in the second half but did not stop a deflected shot which he thought was from outside the D but was inside.
When Ashmoor equalised from a sweeping move in the early stages of the second half and then went ahead from the deflected penalty corner, it looked as though Chard’s heroic defending was going to be in vain.
However, within minutes of going behind, they conjured up a fourth goal themselves, Eggle receiving a pass with his back to goal, turning his marker and firing across the keeper into the far corner of the net.
Chard A have a smattering of youth as well, including Harry Felgate who was outstanding on the right wing and the talented Adam Veitch. Both were shining examples of quiet, fair competitiveness.
The same cannot be said for Ashmoor’s youngest players who were as vociferous as some of their slightly older colleagues in constantly appealing and seeking to influence the umpires’ decisions.
Chard stoically tolerated this behaviour for the first half but began to lose patience in the final tense minutes in response to a series of increasingly bizarre and inconsistent decisions.
This was a point well won in the circumstances.