Manager Brian Hughes made three changes to the team that disappointingly threw away their lead and more importantly a vital three points in midweek. Scott Claridge swapped places with Jamie Reid on the right, Jonathan Else returned from injury to replace Ellis Dunton while Paul Banks replaced Jody Bevan who dropped to the bench after a busy week. With our record at Hardenhuish Park this was going to take a huge performance to gain any points.
Cirencester played down the slope in the first half with a slight breeze behind them which made it difficult to play passes in behind as it either ran through to the keeper or out of play. In the early stages some long balls over the top looked to have caught out the Cirencester back four but all too often either Gilroy or Griffin had strayed in to an offside position.
In a game that produced so few chances it was on eight minutes when Cirencester got their first sight of goal when after a rampaging run by Jamie Reid he was brought down on the edge of the Chippenham box. Else stepped up to take the kick which was deflected narrowly wide by the wall for a corner.
The game entered into a niggly phase with a couple of off the ball incidents involving first Banks and Casey before Griffin and Williams had a brief exchange, but neither incident resulted in any cards being shown
Chippenham started to play and on 26 minutes some bright interplay between Stearn and Griffin down the right hand side resulted in one of several corners but Guthrie appeared to be quite wasteful in his deliveries.
On 28 minutes what looked to be a harmless punt forward by Rudge caused keeper Mike Hedges to handle outside of his area as the ball held up in the wind. Anxious Cirencester fans awaited the referee’s decision which was both sensible and also a relief.
The central midfield pairing of Wayne Turk and James Mortimer-Jones were working tirelessly to suppress Lye and Harvey and on 32 minutes the latter was perhaps fortunate not to receive a yellow card for late challenge on Turk. On 42 minutes Chippenham had their best chance of the half when a Guthrie cross from the left drifted over Jamie Dunn’s head but Stearn was unable to capitalise as his shot was well over the bar. The first half finished goalless and without either keeper really being tested.
Half-Time: Chippenham Town 0 Cirencester Town 0
Shortly into the second half Stearn again turned provider but as in the first half the Chippenham forwards once again strayed offside. On 55 minutes Hedges had his first real shot to save when Gilroy broke clear but he shot tamely and it was a comfortable save for the young keeper.
Cirencester made their first substitution on 62 minutes when Dunton replaced Banks who had taken a knock in the first half. The visiting fans were rewarded in the 72nd minute when Claridge broke clear of the home defence and edged the ball away from the keeper. Facing such a narrow angle he kept the ball and played in Mortimer Jones whose shot was blocked by Wright in the Chippenham goal but it fell to Scott Griffin 12 yards out and he struck a perfect volley into the unguarded net to put the visitors ahead.
On 80 minutes it looked as though things had got even better for the visitors as Else turned Williams inside out on the left before cleverly playing in the overlapping Dunn whose pinpoint cross was turned in by Claridge only for the assistant to marginally rule it out for offside. On 84 minutes Claridge again found himself clear on the right and his shot across the goal was pushed around the post by Wright for a corner.
On 88 minutes the hard working Griffin was replaced by Bevan as Cirencester looked to hold on and ensure the points were kept. Shortly after Chippenham had a great chance to level when Stearn crossed from the right to find Griffin unmarked 6 yards out but his header was well wide of the target. Reid again was caught late by Harvey in the 90th minute and rightly received a yellow card as the game reached added time.
The Cirencester central defence of Gunn and Westlake ensured no more chances were offered to the home side and were defiant all game in their stance against Gilroy and Griffin which allowed keeper Hedges a slightly less busy time than was anticipated.
The full-time whistle blew and Manager Brian Hughes can be well pleased with the result, commitment and desire shown today, but no doubt frustrated that it was less evident in midweek.
Referee: John Farries
1. Tommy Smith
2. Iain Harvey
3. Greg Tindle
4. Ashley Williams (C)
5. Steve Casey
6. Nathan Rudge
7. Scott Lye
8. Ross Stearn
9. David Gilroy
10. Alan Griffin
11. James Guthrie
12. Richard Evans
14. Mani Randhawa
15. Alex Kite
16. Luke Gullick
1. Mike Hedges
2. Jamie Reid
3. Jamie Dunn
4. Andy Gunn
5. Scott Claridge
6. Zak Westlake
7. Wayne Turk
8. James Mortimer-Jones
10. Scott Griffin
11. Jon Else
12. Jody Bevan (on for Scott Griffin – 88 mins)
14. Ellis Dunton (on for Paul Banks – 62 mins)
15. Aidan Bennett
More info here