EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Chippenham Town 3 AFC Totton 0
TOM Knighton announced himself to the Hardenhuish Park faithful in style as his deadly goalscoring instincts shot down Totton and moved Chippenham Town to within three points of the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division play-off places tonight.
Knighton's two classic pieces of goal poaching before strike partner Lee Phillips added the finishing touch with a late header as the Bluebirds turned in comfortably the best home performance of the season.
The former Yate Town man had opened his Town account with a spectacular overhead kick in the 2-0 victory at St Albans on Saturday and his brace ended the Bluebirds' torment that had seen them fail to register a home league win since September 18.
Boss Nathan Rudge rewarded the side who had triumphed in Hertfordshire by naming an unchanged team, only Mani Randhawa stepping on to the bench to replace his manager.
And the hosts nearly made the perfect start when Scott Lye's perceptive pass found Luke Ballinger on two minutes but, as Keeper Gareth Barfoot rushed out, his finish was weak and wide.
That merely sparked Totton into life, Michael Gosling's corner swirling in a strong wind and striking Town keeper Ben John's bar on six minutes.
Three minutes later another Gosling corner was headed goalwards by Dave Allen, but John somehow blocked from point-blank range.
The Bluebirds broke up the other end, but Phillips took a heavy first touch after a long ball was flicked on by Knighton.
The home side now held the upper hand and the breakthrough came just before the half hour.
Ballinger swept over a cross from the right and, when James Guthrie tuched the ball back across from beyond the far post, Knighton had the simple task of slotting home from five yards.
With Guthrie continuously posing questions of the Stags' defence and Knighton a contstant thorn in their side, the latter struck a post with an effort from the edge of the area.
Six minutes before half time, Tyrone Mings' cross to the far post was headed down by Phillips, but Ballinger shot straight at Barfoot.
Town's Williams and visiting substitute Chris Mason both went into the book for early second-half fouls, but 10 minutes in, the home side's lead was doubled.
Ballinger's charge down the right was halted but when the clearance fell to Guthrie, he unleashed a 35-yard effort that Barfoot could only parry, allowing Knighton to react quickest and sweep the ball home.
Perhaps a touch over-exuberant, the two-goal man immediately went into the book for a late foul on Stags' Ryan Hill but on 65 minutes, the points were wrapped up.
Guthrie sent over a corner and Phillips got up highest to nod into the net.
Guthrie chased the goal his performance deserved, firing wide on 73 minutes, before teeing up Phillips, who ballooned over the top.
And it really should have been 4-0 as Lye robbed a Totton defence that was at sixes and sevens and saw his toe-poke saved by Barfoot, Knighton's follow-up firing wide.
Chippenham Town: Ben John, Alex Kite, Tyrone Mings, Ashley Williams (Toby Osman 86), Steve Casey (capt), Adie Harris, Scott Lye (Iain Harvey 88), James Guthrie, Luke Ballinger, Tom Knighton (Alan Griffin 83), Lee Phillips.
Subs not used: Dean Griffiths, Mani Randhawa.
AFC Totton: Gareth Barfoot, Ryan Hill, Luke Whitley, Bailey Cargill (Chris Mason 45), Jamie Whisken, Dave Allen, Carl Pettefer (capt), Jonathan Davies, James Coutts (Jamie Rudd 61), Richard Gillespie, Michael Gosney (Luke Roberts 69).
Subs not used: Jack Odom, Ross Casey.
Referee: David Ricketts (Portishead)
Yellow cards - Chippenham: Williams, 46, foul; Knighton, 57, foul; Totton: Gosney, 66, foul; Mason, 46, foul.
REACTION & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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