An ultimately conclusive defeat at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium saw the Peacocks edge nearer to the National League South trapdoor. Despite gaining the advantage through Ross Stearn’s early goal, the visitors could not contain a lively Bluebirds side who went on to overhaul the lead and would have added to their tally had it not been for Town keeper Jack Bycroft whilst there was little attacking threat in response.
With skipper Nick Grimes absent due to work commitments, Cameron Evans came in at the back whilst Lloyd James assumed the captain’s armband and all seemed positive as the team in yellow made a sound start, with Nat Jarvis’ header easily held by Will Henry in the home goal and Lee Lucas firing a first time strike over from Ollie Chamberlain’s cross. However they had a lucky escape after ten minutes when Joe Parker latched onto a pass over the top and lobbed Bycroft, the ball coming back off the post and landing for Matt McClure whose strike was blocked by Evans.
The Peacocks recovered from that near miss to take the lead after 13 minutes. Jake Wannell’s free kick forward flicked off a defender for Stearn to prod home into the far corner, cueing scenes of celebration amongst the sizeable travelling support. Their joy was not to last. The hosts were beginning to click and the Town defence were being increasingly stretched. Wannell’s clearance ricocheted off McClure to land on the roof of the net, Tom Mehew’s drilled shot from a low corner was blocked, as were two follow-ups while Caine Bradbury’s effort from another corner went the same way. Bycroft then pulled off a fine save, pushing away McClure’s close range header from an Alex Bray cross before the rebound from the same player was blocked.
With those tell-tale signs, it was no real surprise when Chippenham drew level after 36 minutes, Bradbury’s corner being squeezed home inside the post by a header from home captain Will Richards. The visitors sustained no further damage up until the break and actually finished the half on a positive note, James’ deep cross being headed just wide at the back post by Jay Foulston. Unfortunately few positives could be taken from what was to follow.
After a fairly open start to the second half, it didn’t take long for the Bluebirds to take control of the proceedings, aided by their second goal on 52 minutes. After a shot had hit a Town body, the ball fell loose to McClure who drilled home into the net from just outside the box. A header from Dave Sims-Burgess proved a routine hold for Henry in reply but that was about it until the latter stages of the game as the hosts buzzed down the slope, some crisp football cutting through seemingly at will against a Town side lacking in cohesion. Bradbury fired another strike over while penalty appeals after Craig Fasanmade went down were waved away before McClure sent another shot narrowly wide.
Dylan Morgan replaced Sims-Burgess just past the hour, but the traffic remained one way, Chippenham quickly closing down any Peacock attempts to make ground and managing the long balls whilst driving forward with energy and purpose themselves. Another batch of corners were won, one of which led to panic stations as the ball disappeared in a melee of players, with Bycroft eventually managing to clutch. He could do nothing about the third goal after 66 minutes though, Fasanmade making ground down the left before driving his finish inside the post.
The Bluebirds eased off as the match entered the final stages which saw Town at least make some inroads into the opposition area. Nick McCootie took over from Jarvis on 73 minutes and the two Taunton subs nearly combined to reduce the deficit four minutes later, McCootie powering to the byeline and seeing his low cross bundled against the near post by Morgan who was giving the home defence something to think about. He was then felled by Luke Russe to earn a free kick which Stearn fired just wide before Henry made what would be constituted as his only real save of the evening when he parried an 18 yard shot from Chamberlain while McCootie’s turn and shot was blocked at close quarters. It was all too little, too late though. Five minutes of stoppage time made no difference, the only effort being a Joe Hanks’ strike which Bycroft held, as the home side leapfrogged their visitors in the table.
Word on the street said it was Chippenham’s most dominant performance of the season and on that evidence it is hard to argue. The Peacocks, who failed to win a corner during the 90 minutes and who now drop to 20th in the table, had been soundly beaten and similar performances over the next six weeks can only lead to one outcome.
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Jay Foulston, Jake Wannell, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James (captain), Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 73), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn, Cameron Evans, Dave Sims-Burgess (Dylan Morgan 63), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Dan Ball, Zac Smith
Chippenham: Will Henry, Eddie Jones, Ollie Tomlinson, Will Richards (captain), Tom Mehew, Matt McClure (Owen Windsor 80), Craig Fasanmade, Alex Bray, Caine Bradbury, Joe Parker (Joe Hanks 86), Luke Russe. Unused subs: Arron Simpson, Alfie Santos, Will King
Referee: Daniel Lamport (Swindon)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Said Ouchene (Paulton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Ryan Saward (Bristol)
Rob Dray commented:” The crucial areas are always both boxes and we weren’t good enough in either. Credit to Chippenham who are on a good run and as I’ve said before the league table has no bearing on results in this division. We know what we have to do to improve and we start Saturday.”
Match Highlights can be seen courtesy of Chippenham Town FC HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Jack Bycroft was named Taunton Town Man Of The Match, photo to follow