CHICKERELL United suffered a shock defeat to lowly Sturminster Newton United, as the Chickens’ bid for a top-two finish in the Dorset Senior League came to an abrupt end.

Steve Coward’s charges went in two goals behind at the interval and although Nick Etherington got them back into contention, they were caught on the break when they pushed men forward as the hosts clinically hit them on the counter-attack.

And although Steve Welch also managed to get his name on the score sheet, it was not enough for Chickerell to muster anything from the clash, but Coward was still satisfied with the way his side performed.

He told Echosport: “We really came out in the second half and showed positivity and we did really well.

“We scored our first and we were all over them after that but as we pushed forward they hit us on the break with a ball over the top.”

The visitors could have snatched a point at the death as they spurned two glorious opportunities for a last-minute leveller.

Coward will now need to rally his troops for their final game of the season on Saturday, as they face the tough task of taking on league winners Westland Sports.

The Chickens are the only side to defeat champions Westland in the league this term with a 2-0 victory back in September thanks to goals from Steve Welch and Josh Why, who will return for Saturday’s game after recovering from injury.

Coward added: “I think we have the players that can get a result, we know that we are up against a very good side and we will have to be at our very best if we are to stop them.”

The Chickens’ chief will also welcome back Matt Green into Saturday’s squad.

Chickens: Boore, Coles, Ferguson, Miles, Willett (Stalker 70), D Welch, Etherington, Stone (Campbell-Bell 80), Rawlings, S Welch, White