29.1.2011

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Chippenham Town

Hednesford Town

Quinn (23)

(0) 0

(1) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

351

Liam Francis

W L W W L L W L W W

Bashley (H) 1.2.11

The Pitmen continue to navigate their tough run of fixtures with an impressive demeanour, as they beat fellow play-off chasers Chippenham Town this afternoon to chalk up their third win in five games against sides in the top seven

With the team on such a positive run, manager Rob Smith kept changes to the absolute minimum, making only one change to the team that beat table-toppers Truro last weekend; Kyle Patterson was selected in place of the suspended Chris Clements. New signing Alex Melbourne, signed this week from local side Rushall Olympic, replaced Patterson amongst the substitutes

Hosts Chippenham were at the end of a home triple header in the past fortnight, having beaten both Bashley and Bedford Town at Hardenhuish Park to lift them up into seventh place in the table, two places and four points ahead of today's visitors. Manager Adie Mings made three changes to the side that had beaten Bedford a couple of Tuesdays ago as Alex Kite, Shaun Lamb and James Guthrie replaced Ashley Edenborough, loanee Jack McKenna and Sam Allison

Despite playing up the considerable slope at Hardenhuish Park in the first half, Hednesford made an excellent start to the match, as they looked to take their recent good form into this game. Nick Wellecomme, who has impressed since his New Year arrival, was first to test Chippenham's defence on eight minutes, as he raced onto Patterson's through ball. However, he was halted by a late offside flag that on second showing looked dubious, to say the least

Patterson's new role in the team, playing in a more withdrawn position than maybe he was used to, seemed to suit the former LA Galaxy man, as he seemed to thrive with the ball at his feet. On fourteen minutes, he took the responsibility at a free-kick after Wellecomme had earned the set-piece thirty yards out. Patterson's swerving effort lacked direction, however, with Chippenham keeper Chris Snoddy watched over the crossbar

Ben Bailey has not been as prolific from set-pieces as he was last season, having not scored yet this campaign. He was still stuck on zero on sixteen minutes with a wayward volley after the ball had dropped to him twelve yards out

The Pitmen's pressure told mid-way through the first half, as the Wellecomme-Danny Quinn forward line combined to grab the all-important opener. Wellecomme won the ball off Scott Lye before making a  great run down the left, cutting inside two Chippenham players and firing a low shot towards goal. The ball beat Snoddy but not the post, cannoning back off the foot of the woodwork. The ball dropped kindly to the onrushing Quinn, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net for his ninth goal of the season

Spurred by the goal, Hednesford continued to have the better of the play going forward - Wellecomme and Quinn again combined to set Patterson, but his shot from twenty yards out flew harmlessly over the crossbar

Chippenham's attacking threat finally materialised with their first meaningful move forward on thirty-six minutes. Neat play involving Lewis Powell and Shaun Benison saw Powell play in his team-mate, but a superb block tackle from Liam Francis blocked Benison's goalbound shot

This was to signal a period of pressure from the home side, as Kite headed wide from a Benison cross a minute later, closely followed by a scuffed effort at goal from Powell, which was saved by Dan Crane

As half time approached, Greg Tindle wasted Chippenham's best chance to equalise with a shot that missed the target when he should have at least tested Crane

There was still time for both Wellecomme and Quinn to have half chances saved by Snoddy in a frenetic final few seconds of the half, with Hednesford just shading the half on possession and chances

Kicking down the slope in the second half, Hednesford supporters could have been forgiven for expecting more of the same from their side, but the Pitmen found themselves up against it for much of the second half after a bright opening

An early corner kick for the Pitmen saw Chippenham partially clear the ball, with Bailey lining up another chance from twelve yards out - this time, his attempted lob cleared the crossbar as he rushed his effort under pressure from Chippenham's onrushing defenders

That was as good as it got for the Pitmen going forward, as Chippenham pushed the visitors back in search of an equaliser. Powell felt he should have been awarded a penalty on fifty-three minutes, as he appeared to be barged over by Cheyenne Dunkley, but his protests fell on deaf ears

 On fifty-seven minutes, Chippenham skipper Ashley Williams forced Crane into a smart save after he latched onto Guthrie's cross and fired goalwards

After Powell had tested Crane again on the hour mark, Chippenham substitute Sam Allison went close to levelling the match as he headed another Guthrie cross narrowly wide of the far post

With the ball coming back to the Pitmen at regular intervals, Smith decided to add more aggression to his side with fourteen minutes left, bringing on big Marvin Robinson for the tiring Quinn

Two minutes later, and the Bluebirds went agonisingly close to equalising through Guthrie, whose run down the left saw him cut inside and lob Crane, only to see his attempt come back off the far post. With Crane beaten, the ball dropped kindly to Allison, who was denied a simple tap-in by a last-ditch sliding tackle from man of the match Francis

In the late stages of the game, Chippenham threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Pitmen but failed to muster up a meaningful chance on goal, with Crane, Francis, Dunkley and Decio Gomes all excelling in defence. Another great result for the Pitmen puts them six points behind the play-off places, with a double-header of home matches to come next week against Bashley and Hemel Hempstead Town

Chippenham Town: Snoddy, Kite, Lamb, Williams ©, Tindle, Rudge, Lye, Martin (Allison 58), Powell (Edenborough 81), Benison (Griffin 47), Guthrie      Subs Unused: Harvey, McKenna

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Bailey, Patterson, Wellecomme, Quinn (Robinson 76), Davidson      Subs Unused: Keenan, Gibson, Melbourne, Osborne

Images © copyright Pitmenweb