Cheddar 3 - 2 Chard Town
Tuesday 26th September 2017
A stunning hat-trick from Cheddar captain Adam Jones ensured three points stayed at Bowdens Park on Tuesday night after an all-action Vegetarian Derby writes Kerry Miller.
An early strike from way out was cancelled out virtually straight away but a far post volley just before the half hour and another fine finish with 15 minutes left did for Chard who played their part in a lively encounter in front of 67 who had ventured out in what threatened to turn into a murky evening at one stage.
Managerless Cheddar went into the game with three wins out of four games under temporary boss Shaun Potter while Chard were still smarting from their abandoned game against leaders Westbury United but having beaten Keynsham Town on Saturday.
They were without striker Taufik Ben Salem, who was recovering from an operation on his hand while Steve Friend was recovering from becoming a father but Chard began well and Max Westlake fed Bradley Miles who volleyed wide then Westlake tested Liam Kingston in the home goal, who was not displeased to see Westlake’s effort cleared off the line.
Cheddar struck soon after with their first meaningful foray into the Chard half as Jones was given enough space down the middle to thrash a screamer past Jon Hill from 30 yards and counting with six minutes on referee Brian Lee’s watch.
It could have been two moments later when Jones robbed a defender but his lob was inches over and Chard breathed again. The Robins were looking lively in the early stages and Miles drove over from an angle before Cheddar raided again and Oli Pearson just kept out Jones with a last ditch tackle.
An equaliser was always coming and it arrived after 13 minutes when Miles fed the excellent Westlake whose cross found the late arriving Liam Cleal who finished well. It was almost 2-1 with the next attack as Chard’s forward momentum broke down and Chris Coombs escaped and found Jake Mawford who was in on goal but his shot lacked pace.
It mattered little as just before the half hour Mawford released Stephen Pennington and the recently promoted former reserve floated over an inch-perfect cross to the far post which Jones volleyed in to retake the lead. Jones then shot wide as he looked for a first half hat-trick before at the other end Westlake’s pass was just too hot for former Sherborne Town striker Alexandru Stafie, who could only guide it wide.
The end to end play continued as Joe Grant put Coombs through who beat Hill but his effort hit the post and was hacked away by the busy Andy Holmes. Holmes was even busier moments later when Westlake’s free-kick was missed by everybody excelt Holmes on the far post a yard out but somehow it did not go in and the chance went astray.
After the break there was no let up in the action and Jones almost posted his treble when his overhead kick from a long throw hit the bar and it seemed as through it might come back to haunt them as on the hour Westlake deservedly equalised for Chard. He found room on the right and moved inside to shoot through a sea of bodies and into the corner past the unsighted Kingston to make it 2-2.
Mawford then watched a shot deflect wide with Hill wrong footed and another long pass found Jones and Hill clashing outside the area but the Cheddar skipper was just shepherded away for a corner. When it came in Mawford’s trickery ended with a wicked cross which Danny Griffiths met but it was straight at Hill and Chard survived again.
It was Coombs who set up the winner for Jones as his fine cross fell for Jones who took a touch before sliding it past Hill for a memorable hat-trick and a classic captain’s knock.
Hill then flew across goal to keep out Robbi Maggs to set up a grandstand finish. Chard substitute James Boyland, on the bench due to an illness, crashed a shot against the Cheddar bar just on 90 minutes and the ball bounced on the line and away before he wriggled along the byline but the danger was snuffed out and Cheddar went home the happiest from the Theatre of Cheese.