PRE-SEASON: Chippenham Town 1 Oxford City 0

Goalscorer Alan Griffin's battles for the ball during Chippenham Town 1-0 friendly win over Oxford City on Saturday

Goalscorer Alan Griffin's battles for the ball during Chippenham Town 1-0 friendly win over Oxford City on Saturday

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CHIPPENHAM Town tasted victory in their first run out of the summer at Hardenhuish Park, with the Bluebirds getting the better of Oxford City this afternoon.

Alan Griffin's first half penalty was enough for Mark Collier's side to see off their Conference North opponents in an entertaining, high-tempo clash.

And Bluebirds boss Collier was pleased with the strenuous workout his side received by taking on Oxford.

“It was obviously a step up from what we've had but I stick by what I said before – there are no points and offer and it's just minutes in the bank on a very hot day,” said Collier.

“In the second half, when Oxford City have had a lot of possession, our defensive shape was particularly impressive. They've had a couple of chances, which you'd expect from a team in a higher division, but Kent (Kauppinen) has dealt with them well.

“I just thought we had it about us. We created chances and we looked a threat going forward. The squad's coming together nicely and it's something we can build on and take some confidence from.”

After Chippenham's Luke Ballinger and Oxford's Antonio Morris both went close with long-range efforts early on, the two sides largely cancelled each other out, right up until there were four minutes of the first half remaining.

The Bluebirds were handed the chance to break the deficit as, after latching on to Ballinger's clever free-kick, Griffin was chopped down in the area by former Chippenham loanee Mark Scott.

The striker dusted himself off and sent ex-Swindon Town keeper Scott the wrong way as he smacked the spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner.

Shortly afterwards, City's Louis Wilson produced a looping header that flew not far wide of the far post whilst full-back Jose La Pogue drew a save from Kent Kauppinen with a powerful strike from range but Chippenham went into the break leading 1-0.

Griffin had the chance to double the home side's lead three minutes into the second period when he was picked out at the far post by Ballinger but Oxford goalie Scott did just enough to put off the Bluebirds striker.

Midfielder Ballinger got in a crossing position again shortly afterwards and this time, his delivery looped all the way onto the roof of the crossbar.

At the other end, the visitors' Felipe Barcelos went for the near post with a cheekily-taken free-kick but his effort curled just wide.

Xabi Hernandez's fearsome effort had to be palmed away by Kauppinen midway through the half before Ballinger rolled a shot wide of the mark after being played in by James Guthrie's through ball.

La Pogue forced another good save from Kauppinen with a superb strike towards the top corner as Oxford pressed pushed for an equaliser but the Bluebirds held on.

CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Kent Kauppinen, Conor McCormack, Jon Beeden, Matt Coupe, Greg Tindle, Iain Harvey (Callum Wright 71), Toby Osman, Luke Ballinger (Ben Pring 84), Alan Griffin (C) (Lee Phillips 58), Omar Simpson (Pete Monks 64), James Guthrie.

MORE CHIPPENHAM TOWN NEWS AND REACTION IN NEXT THURSDAY'S GAZETTE AND HERALD. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport

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