Toolstation Western League
First Division
Westbury United 1, Chard Town 1

CHARD Town came away from First Division high-fliers Westbury United with a well-earned point, scoring a vital equaliser in the last minute of the game.

With illness and unavailability hitting the squad, Chard were forced to start with a reshuffled defensive line-up.

Westbury, lying second in the league table, opened the match on the attack but Chard dealt well with the robust play from the home side.

The Wiltshire side did, however, go ahead on 24 minutes when a penalty was awarded and Dan Kovacs gave Chard’s keeper no chance with a powerful spot-kick.

The hosts wasted further chances to extend their lead either side of half time, before the Robins managed to get their game together with some close passing football, but they too were unable to take advantage of chances created.

As the game progressed, the visitors were dictating the attacking play, with Max Westlake putting in a good run down the right flank and forcing a succession of corners for Chard.

Octavio Lima replaced James Boyland on 77 minutes and, with Westbury anxious to hold their one-goal advantage, several free kicks were awarded to both sides with referee Nick Eckland doing well to control matters.

He added on seven minutes for time-wasting by the home side, who squandered another good chance to go further ahead.

In the 95th minute, a good move down the middle from the Robins ended with Max Westlake going through to coolly score past home keeper Lewis Porter and gain a share of the points to take them up to seventh in the league.

The late goal was all the sweeter given that the teams’ previous meeting had been abandoned on 89 minutes with the Robins leading 4-2.

To Chard’s frustration, the league decided that match must be replayed (on April 7).

Chard: Jon Hill, Patrick Golden, Oliver Pearson, Ben Haines, Kieran Bailey, Matthew Howell, Max Westlake, Ryan Parris, Taoufik Ban-Salem, James Boyland (Octavio Lima 77), Liam Cleal. Subs (not used): Stephen Friend, Andrew Holmes.

Reflecting on the Westbury result, Chard boss Paul Down said: “A great point and well deserved.

“It wasn’t a classic, but a typical feisty Western League battle.

“There is no getting away from the tension between the clubs [from the abandonment at Chard].”

Chard are due to host near-neighbours Bishops Lydeard on Wednesday (ko 7.30pm), but whether the game will go ahead is weather dependent, with very cold temperatures expected.