Robins back on song with confidence-boosting wins
CHARD Town assistant manager Adam Fricker believes the Toolstation Western League First Division side are back on track after Saturday's 2-0 win at home to Devizes Town.
Despite the visitors having much of the early possession, it was Chard who took the lead when Andy Martin's free-kick brilliantly found the net.
Devizes continued to apply pressure to the Chard defence, but their task was made more difficult when they had a player sent off for a push on keeper Jason Hutchings. The hosts sealed the win late on when good work on the right by Ed Butcher saw him find Taoufik Ben Salem, who slotted home to give the Robins a second straight win.
The margin could have been wider had Fricker - successful from the spot in the midweek defeat of Keynsham Town - converted his penalty.
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The result still came as a welcome relief to pre-season promotion hopefuls Chard, who are now firmly on the road to recovery after a disastrous start to the campaign which saw them lose their opening five league matches.
Fricker praised the way in which the team ground out the result, and believes notching two straight wins has helped his side restore their confidence.
He said: "I'm really happy with the lads. They showed fantastic grit and determination and played with a fantastic attitude throughout.
"Everyone did their job well, they got stuck in and worked for each other. Devizes are a very strong team and will be right up there come the end of the season so it was a really strong performance and one that the lads can take a lot of confidence from.
"You can tell compared to a few games ago how the lads are more confident and have more self-belief. There's much less anxiety now we've got a couple of wins and we now need to make sure we build on that and keep this momentum going."
Fricker put Chard's unexpectedly poor start to the season down to the loss of a number of key players in pre-season, as injury and suspension took their hold on the squad.
But with most of the club's star performers beginning to return to the fold, hopes are high that the side can maintain their winning run and kick-start their top two push.
Fricker said he was always confident that once the Robins got their first win, a good run of results would follow.
"We've got a couple of lads back in the fold now who we didn't have at the start of the season," he said.
"The biggest issue was the number of players we had out with injuries and suspensions. We lost three players in the last pre-season friendly, including Sam Clark who was the top scorer last season, and someone with his goals and quality is almost impossible to replace, so were always going to struggle to cope with that.
"Once we lost the first two games we got into a bit of a rut. As winning can become a habit when you go on a run losing can have the same effect so it took us a little while to regroup and get ourselves back on track.
"It was a tough start and something we weren't expecting but once we got that first win under our belts we knew we would be able to put a run together, and we'll be working hard to make sure we can go that to get ourselves back up into the mix."
"There will be times this season when we'll have to dig in and grind out those results, and I have every confidence in the ability of the lads to work hard and show the fight that is needed to get ourselves back in the hunt for promotion."
By Stephen D'Albiac