CHARD Town Football Club started its pre-season campaign with a double header against Gillingham Town, with the 1st XI beaten 4-2 in Ashley Fussell’s first match in charge, and the Reserves winning 2-1.

The Robins were delighted to welcome popular ex-manager Paul Down - now in charge at Gillingham - back to Zembard Lane.

On a very hot day, the visitors opened the scoring after only six minutes, but it was 1-1 six minutes later, with James Boyland levelling.

Gillingham led 2-1 at the break thanks to a penalty, and two goals in three minutes after the break saw them pull away.

The hosts got their second with three minutes to go, as a fine Harry Boddington pass sent Nathan Finn clear, and he curled it round the goalkeeper for an excellent goal.

Chard Town squad: Searle, Collins, Hilton, Lewis, Richardson, Dodds, Board, Boddington, Finn, Boyland, Manley, Sheahan, O’Connor, Finn.

This coming Saturday sees Chard visit Bishops Lydeard.

Chard Reserves, meanwhile, fought back from a goal down at half-time to win 2-1 away to Gillingham Town Reserves.

Now under the management of Danny Cleal and Darren Contreras, the Robins began well but their chances were limited by the home defence, and a goal on the counter-attack gave the hosts the lead at the break.

Chard continued to probe for an opening and got their reward on the hour, when a pinpoint through ball from Toby Pike sent Ellison Webber one-on-one with the keeper and the 17-year-old found the net with a powerful strike.

Ten minutes after that, some intricate football in midfield led to the ball finding left-back Will Bennett, who clipped a well-judged pass into the path of Pike’s run.

Pike coolly rounded the goalkeeper out wide and cut back onto his right foot to curl the ball home from a tight angle.

This was a very encouraging performance from a young Chard team, with their next friendly match being at home to a South Petherton side who have several ex-Robins in their ranks.

Chard Reserves: A. Cunnold, S. Parker, C. Atyeo, T. Howlett, W. Bennett, D. Contreras (c), M. Crabb, A. Anjos, A. Crabb, S. Jakeman, J. Bond. Subs: J. Contreras, T. Pike, E. Webber, L. Nightingill.


ILMINSTER Town won their second pre-season match 6-1 at Pilton United, thanks to goals from Taylor Jefferson (2), Brad Pitman, Chris Nezianya, Will Spurway and Richard Crabb.