Toolstation Western League
First Division
Chard Town 2, Cheddar 2

CHARD Town stopped the rot on Saturday, ending a sequence of seven straight defeats with an enthralling draw at home to title contenders Cheddar.

This was an encouraging showing from the Robins, with some fine individual performances, following a pretty fallow two months – and with a little more luck they could have had a much-needed win.

The visitors attacked down the slope in the first half and quickly showed why they were top of the table going into the match, striker Adam Jones scoring with a thumping header from Ricky Bennett’s corner after only five minutes.

After good chances for both sides in a lively opening, Steve Friend was pushed over in the penalty area just seven minutes later.

He duly fired his spot-kick wide of the goalkeeper’s dive to level the scores.

The Chard defence then had to withstand considerable pressure, with Jones and midfielder Stephen Pennington coming close for Cheddar.

Then Jones received a push in the box and the visitors were presented with an opportunity to retake the lead from the penalty spot.

They failed to take it, though, as home keeper Scott Wells-Burr dived to the right to fist away Chris Coombs’ spot-kick.

Wells-Burr was called into action on numerous occasions thereafter, and his fine efforts ensured that the Robins went in at the break on level terms.

After half-time Chard looked bright, using the slope to their benefit.

Liam Cleal pounced on a defensive error but couldn’t quite capitalise on it, while Wells-Burr was called into action again at the other end, saving a Jones shot from close range with his feet.

Andrew Holmes then headed Max Westlake’s corner over the bar before the hosts deservedly went ahead with a fine goal on 65 minutes.

Westlake played a neat pass to the advancing Elliot Dyer, whose superb curling cross was met by Friend’s diving header, the ball flying into the net.

Chard pressure continued, with Dyer crashing a shot against the bar, but then Cheddar levelled on 73 minutes, when Jones lofted the ball to the unmarked Pennington, who headed past Wells-Burr.

It was a tense finish to the game and the Robins nearly snatched a victory when in the dying seconds Holmes’s header was cleared off the line by a defender.

Chard Town: Scott Wells-Burr, Elliot Dyer, Tom Salter, Andrew Holmes, Kieran Bailey, Sam Smith (Matt Howell 85), Max Westlake, Ben Haines, Steve Friend (Nathan Warren 80), Ryan Parris, Liam Cleal. Subs not used: Alex Harper, Dan Collins.

Seventh in the First Division standings, Chard are away to 15th-placed Bishop Sutton next Saturday (ko 3pm).