Chard HC Men’s 1st 0-1 Westbury & United Banks

It was a case of “close but no full-time cigar” for Chard’s top men’s team this weekend, after a keenly fought match against Westbury & United Banks ended in a 1-0 defeat.

As the scoreline suggests, chances were at a premium in a game that was largely contested in the middle of the park and on the fringes of each D.

As they have all season, newly promoted Chard proved that they could mix it in this league, even if they were on the back foot for the most of the first period.

The defending was disciplined and dogged throughout, with the back four of Nathan Johnson, Bertie Lupton, Jonny Crease and Chris Timmis keeping the visitors at bay.

But the pick of the bunch was goalkeeper Cian Brown, with a man of the match performance. Chard’s man between the sticks was exemplary, showing calmness during several goalmouth scrambles and producing a number of top saves - including an acrobatic top corner block.

Despite meeting a brick wall on most occasions, Westbury did manage to squeeze one shot from the edge of the D through the compact defensive unit during the first half.

While the men in green and white were reduced to counter-attacking in the first half, setting a higher defensive line allowed them to put more pressure on the Bristolian visitors during the second.

Driven on by the positivity of stand-in left back Timmis and Nick Parkinson’s underwear-shredding stamina at CDM, the home side were largely on top and controlled the pace of the game but never quite made the pressure count in the D.

Unlike the previous week’s loss to Mendip, heads never dropped as they pushed for the equaliser but time just ran out.

Westbury certainly felt they had been in a game afterwards - or they wouldn’t have celebrated so enthusiastically in the changing rooms.

Chard will look to bounce back at Minehead next week.