Southern League Premier Division: Dunstable Town 1 Chippenham Town 2
A bad start put Dunstable in a tough position and although they rallied and were able to impose themselves on the opposition, it was not enough for a point at the weekend.
Dunstable’s solitary win against Chippenham – in the Central Division a few years ago – was an emphatic one but has not been repeated since.
In successive matches, home and away, there have been only defeats but if Saturday’s game had ended in a draw it would not have been undeserved.
What prevented it was astute and precise defending from a Chippenham team that knew how to hold a lead.
The hosts had seemingly emerged from the doldrums of poor form with a narrow win over Dorchester Town last weekend and had kept the mood confident with a midweek win against Leighton Town in the Bedfordshire Senior Cup.
Chippenham, in third, had a hiccup at Banbury United in their last game. So, third versus fourth looked an exciting prospect, which it turned out to be despite a number of stoppages for injuries.
Manager Tony Fontenelle included two new signings in his squad –Sam Doolan, who started, and Saul Williams, who came off the bench late.
Dunstable started well and earned a free-kick and corner but the visitors showed how quickly they could hit on the break, which was a threat throughout.
Chippenham then opened the scoring on the five-minute mark with a volley from ex-Bath City striker David Pratt after Dunstable had conceded an unnecessary free-kick.
It was a blow against a team known for its endurance and they gave the hosts little room to manoeuvre in midfield, forcing Dunstable to revert to the largely ineffective long-ball. Chippenham were miserly with possession, yet there were signs Dunstable could claw their way back.
But Chippenham added to their lead after 21 minutes with an Andy Sandell penalty, after David Longe-King was found guilty of a push.
Dunstable’s task seemed insurmountable, but on the half-hour the hosts reduced the arrears with some stylish combination play. After a good passing move, it was Danny Green in a crowded box who fired diagonally into the net.
Dunstable forced some smart saves from the Chippenham keeper and had a penalty shout waved away before the break, to give hope.
But in the second half, despite manfully taking on the Chippenham defence, Dunstable were continually thwarted while still facing swift counter attacks.
The best chance was squandered by Kelvin Bossman who missed a golden chance with the goal gaping.
Chippenham, who have a number of one-goal margin victories, knew how to hold on and were able to repel the numerous Dunstable forays as the hosts slipped to fifth after this loss, which was played in front the lowest home gate of the season.
Dunstable: Smith, Reynolds, Okita, Talbot (Moussi), Doolan, Odofin, Phillips (Williams), Green, Bossman, Longe-King, Hutchinson.
MOM: Gedeon Okita.