Chippenham Town 2-1 Saints

St Albans City slumped to a disappointing defeat against Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park on Saturday, as the hosts came from a goal behind to strike twice in four minutes.

On a wet and windy Wiltshire day it was the hosts who started the game the better of the two sides with the Bluebirds sending in a number of deliveries and set-pieces that the Saints had to deal with early on.

The first real opening of the game came against the run of play in the twenty-first minute after good work from Zane Banton won the ball high up the field. The midfielder slid a through ball into Iaciofano who had beaten the offside trap, but with a defender putting pressure on him City’s top scorer could only manage to send his strike straight at the oncoming Puddy.

However, Chippenham’s threat remained and Dean Snedker had to be at his best to keep out Parselle’s header at full stretch from Bray’s corner minutes later.  

Despite the conditions worsening the Saints took the lead with their first corner of the game.

David Noble stepped up and sent a swinging delivery towards the front post that Tom Bender broke free to meet and the City defender glanced his header past Puddy.

Snedker was called into action again just before the interval, getting down well low to his right to turn away Bray’s drive.

Ian Allinson was forced into a substitution during half-time after Solomon Nwabuokei twisted his ankle late on. The midfielder was replaced by Michael Clark who dropped in at right back while Munashe Sundire was pushed into a more natural role in the middle of the pitch.

The home side began the second half in the same manner as the first and were inches away from levelling things up after a ball dropped in the box for Gunner who struck an effort across the face of goal and wide of the back post.

Iaciofano was presented with another opportunity in the 53rd minute after some good work from Zane Banton, who was returning to the ground where he suffered a broken leg last season.

The midfielder burst forward and marched past a defender before laying it off to Iaciofano, but he could only manage to hit a curled effort that Puddy held onto well.

Chippenham’s dominance in terms of the number of corners they won continued and one quick routine ended with Foulton’s speculative half-volley flying just over the bar.

Bender wasn’t too far away from scoring his second of the game after a City corner wasn’t fully cleared by the hosts.

The ball was recycled out to the left and Sundire sent in a looping cross towards that back post that the 27-year-old nodded wide.

Minutes later the hosts were level.

The bluebirds won another corner and the delivery flew into the goalmouth where Kieran Parselle was in the right place to turn it over the line.

By this point the momentum had swung totally the way of the hosts and the winner came from another set-piece just four minutes after the restart.

Following a foul from David Noble twenty-five yards out Swindon Town loanee Scott Twine stepped up and sent an inch perfect free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net, beating a stranded Snedker all ends up.

The Saints searched for a response and Ian Allinson rolled the dice, bringing on both Sam Merson and Jefferson Louis.

The closest the away side came to grabbing an equaliser was through Sundire but the midfielder’s first-time effort following Louis’ lay-off sailed over the bar.

It’s a result that leaves the Clarence Park outfit in twenty-first position in the table, level on points with Billericay Town and Dulwich Hamlet.

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