Toolstation Western League
First Division
Chard Town 0, Sherborne Town 1

CHARD Town suffered their first home defeat of the season as they lost against near-neighbours Sherborne Town, with the only goal of the game coming midway through the second half, writes Ian Hallett.

The home team came close to taking the lead after just 12 seconds, when a five-man move ended with Max Westlake’s shot being cleared off the line for a corner.

Inside the opening quarter-hour, other scoring chances came Chard’s way, with Ryan Parris failing to slot the ball home when he lost his footing at the crucial moment.

Dan Collins and Liam Cleal also went close and it appeared to be just a matter of time before the pressure would be rewarded with a goal.

However, the game took a twist when Collins suffered a recurrence of a hamstring strain and was forced to leave the field.

Sherborne came more into the game as the half progressed; home keeper Scott Wells-Burr was called into action to make a good save from Matty Brown and then another from Hayden Hodges.

And, five minutes before the break, a strike by Matty Day ricocheted off the bar.

Playing down the slope after the interval, the visitors upped the tempo and kept Chard penned in their own half for long periods.

The failure to put away their first-half chances would lead to Chard’s defeat.

The decisive goal came in the 62nd minute, when ex-Robin Taoufik Ben-Salem floated a ball across the area to the unmarked Ashley Clarke, who hammered a low shot into the corner of the net.

The goal spurred the home side into action and it looked as though they were about to get an equaliser when James Boyland lost his marker and sped towards the penalty area, only to be pulled back by a defender.

The resulting free-kick by Westlake went wide of the left-hand post and with it any hope of Chard getting a share of the spoils.

Ironically, Chard's first home defeat was Sherborne's first away league win of the season.

Chard Town: Scott Wells-Burr, Ben Haines, Oli Pearson, Sam Smith (Elliott Dyer 45), Kieran Bailey, Matthew Howell, Max Westlake, Nathan Warren, Ryan Parris, Dan Collins (James Boyland 14), Liam Cleal. Subs (unused): Josh Lukins, Steve Friend.

This coming Saturday sees Chard, who remain third in the table, travel to eighth-placed Wells City (ko 3pm).