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CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Chippenham Town 2 Hitchin Town 4
Chippenham Town suffered their second straight defeat earlier this afternoon as they were well-beaten by Hitchin Town at Hardenhuish Park.
In a disastrous first 45 minutes, Nathan Rudge’s side conceded four times and gave themselves too big a mountain to climb as the visitors snuffed out any hope of a comeback after half-time.
The Bluebirds got off to a fantastic start and were ahead just two minutes in after Hitchin’s Lawrie Stewart fell and handled the ball in the area as he challenged Brandon Barnes.
Referee Tony Power pointed straight to the spot and Chippenham’s Alan Griffin confidently struck home his spot-kick to make it 1-0.
The away side appeared shellshocked but they were level in a flash just eight minutes later as Daniel Delderfield fired towards goal from outside the area and saw his effort take a wicked bounce and beat Bluebirds goalie Josh Dempsey.
Almost instantly, Griffin came within inches of restoring the Bluebirds’ lead as he hit the bar with a header at the other end but it was the visitors who were soon ahead, courtesy of a moment of magic.
Striker John Frendo received the ball from a throw-in and turned his defender on the right-hand edge of the box before lashing a curling shot into the top corner, which gave Dempsey no chance.
Then, Hitchin began to run riot and they made it 3-1 after just 22 minutes with a route one goal.
A long ball from defence was headed past the Chippenham back line and Luke Gregson was on hand to delicately touch the ball over the Bluebirds keeper and into the net.
The hosts’ afternoon continued to go from bad to worse and six minutes later, the visitors were celebrating for a fourth time after Callum Donnelly’s pot-shot from outside the area bounced in off the right-hand post.
Chippenham chief Rudge reacted with the early substitution of Shaun Lamb and a switch to a more attacking formation but all the Bluebirds could create was one dangerous cross from Luke Ballinger, with goalscorer Griffin also limping off with a groin injury late in the half.
The Bluebirds did begin the second period in the same way they’d begun the first and they reduced the deficit when Josh Egan’s clever ball played in fellow youngster Barnes, whose shot hit the post before being smashed home by substitute Lee Phillips in the first minute of the second half.
But Hitchin were content to hold on to their lead and they hassled and pressed the Bluebirds as they sucked the life out of any potential comeback.
It wasn’t until the 81st minute that Ballinger had a curling free-kick punched away by keeper Martin Bennett and in the closing stages, Dave Gilroy headed on to the roof of the net from an Egan cross.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Josh Dempsey, Iain Harvey, Shaun Lamb (Josh Egan 28), Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Alex Kite, Luke Ballinger, Scott Rogers, Alan Griffin (Lee Phillips 43), Dave Gilroy, Brandon Barnes (Dean Griffiths 64).
Subs not used: Toby Osman, James Guthrie.
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