On a misty and dank Wednesday evening Nailsea made the long journey to play Chard Town. The pitch was soft with an uneven surface which would test both sides.
The home team had the advantage of kicking down the infamous Chard slope and immediately put the United defence under pressure. On two minutes a shot from a Chard player on the right was just wide of the mark. The first real attack from Nailsea came two minutes later when Nathan Shipway crossed from the left only for the ball to be gathered by the keeper.
The home side continued to stretch the Nailsea defence but could not find an opening coming closest on 43 minutes with a free kick that was headed wide from a good position.
Half Time. Chard Town 0 Nailsea United 0
The first half was dominated by the home side but their poor finishing and a resolute display by the United defence ensured that the teams went in at half time with the game still in the balance. The question was could Nailsea take advantage of the slope in the second half?
The question was answered within two minutes of the restart when Matt Day played an astute pass inside the Chard full back for Adam Marsden on the left who made a perfect connection to send a powerful shot beyond the Chard keeper into the back of the net to give his side the lead.
Nailsea were now the dominant side with Chard reduced to sporadic chances. The United pressure was rewarded when Matt Day was again the initial provider finding Stuart Lee with a headed pass allowing Lee to cross the ball from the left into the middle where the predatory Nathan Shipway made no mistake in firing past the keeper to double the lead. This was a well worked goal as acknowledged by the home supporters.
Chard to their credit came back into the game with Nailsea ringing the changes with a flurry of substitutions. On 61 minutes Sam Olsen gave way to Matt Thomas followed five minutes later by Ryan Ford being replaced by Leon Osborne. Finally on 70 minutes goal scorer Nathan Shipway was replaced by Mike Carroll.
With 15 minutes remaining Chard had a real chance to reduce the arrears but their player pulled the ball wide with only Rob Brown to beat much to the annoyance of the home crowd. On 80 minutes a Matt Thomas cross was met by the ever available Stuart Lee but his looping header was just over the bar.
Having seen off the potential revival, Nailsea settled the match in the most emphatic fashion with five minutes remaining. A free kick was awarded on the left of the pitch but 25 yards from goal. This was a position tailor made for Mark Iles to show his dead ball kicking expertise. He did not fail sending the ball high into the net despite the efforts of the home keeper. The kick was captured on film and can be seen on the United Twitter feed. It is worth looking at.
Finally, as the referee was looking at his watch Leon Osborne fed Matt Day on the edge of the penalty area, the hard working striker worked the ball into a shooting position only to see the home keeper make a fine save pushing his fierce shot onto the bar.
Final Score. Chard Town 0 Nailsea United 3
This was a game of two halves the difference being that Nailsea took advantage of the slope to score three wonderful goals whilst Chard were wasteful in the first half when they were dominant. All in all a pleasing result in difficult conditions with the whole squad contributing.
This Saturday January 25th Nailsea are at home to high riding Middlezoy Rovers at The Grove. Kick off 2.00pm.