EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Weymouth 0 Chippenham Town 0
CHIPPENHAM Town's defensive credentials were given a thorough examination as they battled to a point at in-form Weymouth this afternoon.
Uncharacteristically, the Bluebirds offered little up front all afternoon but they soaked up everything that the Terras had to throw at them and an admirable display at the back saw Nathan Rudge's side notch up a hard-earned draw.
The Bluebirds failed to register a shot on target in the whole of the first 45 minutes as Weymouth's dogged midfield and lively front line put them on the front foot but fine performances from Steve Casey, Ashley Williams, Jim Rollo and Rudge saw Chippenham's defence hold firm.
Ben Joyce threatened first for the hosts and on 13 minutes, Weymouth forward Dan Smith robbed Adie Harris but his effort was wide of the target.
Just after the half-hour mark, the ball fell to former Chippenham man Scott Walker, who had time to weigh up his options before unleashing a powerful long-range strike that only just cleared the crossbar.
Weymouth threatened again when Smith got into the area and cut the ball back for striker Joyce but his effort was easily claimed by Bluebirds goalie Ben John.
Shortly afterwards, Mark Ford fired a snapshot over the crossbar on the turn as Chippenham continued to repel everything thrown their way going in to half-time.
The second half continued in much the same vein and just after the hour mark, Walker's brilliant long-range pass found Ford in the area but his ball across the goal-line was deflected to safety by Rudge.
In the 65th minute, Chippenham finally created their first goal-scoring opportunity of the match when Ashley Williams' whipped cross was met by the head of Tom Knighton in the area but his effort deflected over the bar off the back of a Weymouth defender.
At the other end, Walker's effort from a quickly-taken corner was gathered by John and in the 73rd minute, the hosts hit the woodwork.
Barry McConnell's low cross into the box was somehow missed by the Bluebirds back line, leaving Ford with a chance from point-blank range but the Weymouth man failed to find the net and steered his shot onto the right post before the ball bounced clear.
With five minutes remaining, Ford had another great chance to give his side the lead when he beat the offside trap and raced towards goal but, luckily for the Bluebirds, his drilled effort was wide of the post.
Then, almost instantly, a golden opportunity fell Chippenham's way when Toby Osman and Williams combined to put Knighton in on goal in a great position but, under pressure from a home defender and with an untimely bobble making his task harder, the striker got his finish all wrong and failed to punish the Terras.
The home side launched a desperate onslaught in the closing stages and late in added time, defender Sam Poole thought he had the chance to clinch the winner when he got into a shooting position following a corner but the referee's whistle went for a barge on Ben John and the Bluebirds survived to take home a crucial point.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Ben John, Adie Harris, Jim Rollo, Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Nathan Rudge, Iain Harvey (Toby Osman 73), Dean Griffiths (Brandon Barnes 85), Alan Griffin (Lee Phillips 68), Tom Knighton, James Guthrie.
Subs not used: Mani Randhawa.
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