SOUTHERN LEAGUE: Chippenham held by battling Frome

This Is Wiltshire: Chippenham manager Mark Collier Chippenham manager Mark Collier

CHIPPENHAM’S hopes of Boxing Day delight were dashed after Frome staged a late fightback at Hardenhuish Park.

The Bluebirds led 3-1 at the hour mark in the Southern League Premier Division clash, but goals from Jon Vance and Ben Wood ensured Frome drew 3-3 and gave new boss Adrian Foster an unbeaten start to his tenure at the Somerset side.

The visitors were on the front foot from the first whistle and took the lead after 11 minutes as Rhys Baggridge nodded Ricky Hulbert's cross to striker Matt Groves and he headed firmly into the net.

That was how it stayed until just before the half hour, when Alan Griffin got his side on terms with a terrific solo effort. The experienced striker battled his way past two defenders and although left off-balance, fired past stopper Darren Chitty and into the corner.

Frome skipper Josh Ford spurned a golden chance following ex-Chippenham man Aaron Ledgister’s free kick, hitting a rising drive that zipped narrowly over the crossbar.

Chippenham made their hosts pay for that miss heading into the break with Joe McClennan’s cross from deep picking out former Swindon Supermarine midfielder Rob Dean and he looped a header over Chitty to make it 2-1.

The game looked over as a contest in the 59th minute. Bryan Smith clipped a superb ball over the top to set McClennan free down the flank and his cross was emphatically slammed home by Griffin.

However, Vance’s piledriver from range gave Frome hope and in the second minute of injury time, the ball broke to Ben Wood following a scramble and he directed the ball into the far corner to snatch a point.

Swindon Supermarine’s game at Cirencester in Division One South & West yesterday was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, dashing Marine loanee keeper Conor Thompson’s hopes of a debut.

The signing of the 18-year-old Torquay man on a month-long deal follows the shock exit of stopper Kent Kauppinen from the Webb's Wood Stadium.

Thompson left Swindon Town early into a two-year scholarship programme and had spells at Gloucester City and Chippenham before moving to Torquay in October last year on a free.

He has yet to play a competitive game for the Gulls but has made an impression on the international stage in representing Northern Ireland Under-17s.

The circumstances surrounding Kauppinen's departure are unclear but he tweeted: “Really enjoyed my time at @SupermarineFC all the best to you guys.”

Kauppinen originally joined Marine in August 2011 and was there until March of the following year when he was jailed for assault, but re-signed at the Webb's Wood upon his release.

The 22-year-old played every match of the 2012/13 campaign - in which Supermarine made the Southern League Division One South & West play-off semi-finals - and was named manager's player of the season.

He had been a regular in the starting line-up during the first half of this term.

Marine are at home to Paulton tomorrow while Cirencester travel to Bridgwater. Chippenham have no game.

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