EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Chippenham Town 1 Barwell 1
SCOTT Hadland's 86th-minute header handed play-off contenders Barwell an undeserved point as Chippenham Town were denied a first league win in three months.
The visiting skipper guided a header past on-loan keeper David Richards after a long throw caused momentary confusion in the Bluebirds' defence, less than two minutes after Lee Phillips looked to have won the match for the home side.
Phillips steered home a penalty on 84 minutes - his fourth goal in three matches - after skipper Scott Lye had been felled in the area, only for Hadland to curtail the celebrations at Hardenhuish Park.
It was rough justice on the home side, whose bristling performance made a mockery of their recent struggles and lowly league position and prevented the Leicestershire outfit from even registering a shot on target until Hadland's intervention.
If Nathan Rudge's men were lacking confidence, they made a good job of disguising it as they delivered a performance teeming with desire and lung-bursting effort, matched by the positive backing from the terraces.
Rudge made five changes from the side beaten at Bashley in midweek, handing new signing Joe McClennan a start, recalling Adie Harris and reintroducing Alex Kite into defence.
Cardiff City stopper David Richards stepped in for the injured Ben John and while largely a spectator, commanded his area with assurance.
Barwell arrived in fourth position in the table, but were soon on the back foot as the Bluebirds got on the front foot.
The home side nearly took the lead after seven minutes as Lye set James Guthrie through on the left-edge of the area and his bobbly shot was turned behind with some difficulty by Barwell keeper Liam Castle.
Two minutes later, Phillips made his way into the penalty area and crossed, Tom Knighton's close-range effort being blocked by a defender.
Chances were few and far between, especially at the Chippenham end where Richards commandingly gathered as striker Matthew Brown threatened to beat the home offside trap.
While neither keeper was tested for the remainder of the half, it was Town doing the pressing and, despite kicking up the slope after the break, that trend continued.
Two minutes after the restart, Lye rose to head Jacob Wannell's free kick goalwards and Knighton's goalbound effort was denied by an outstretched foot.
Five minutes later Greg Tindle, a standout performer at the back for the home side, thought he had put them in front when he headed home Guthrie's free kick from the right, only for referee Andew Laver to rule that he had fouled a defender in the act of scoring.
Belatedly, Barwell began to come into the game more, but Richards was still untested, although Tindle produced quick reactions to prevent Jamie Towers from getting in a shot.
But just under 10 minutes from time, the breakthrough arrived as Lye was chopped down in the area by Thomas Weale.
After a short delay for treatment to the Bluebirds captain, Phillips kept his cool and sent Castle the wrong way with the spot kick.
The home joy was shortlived as Barwell upped the tempo and when Weale's long throw was only headed across the six yard box, Hadland rose and cleverly guided the ball back across the defence and Richards into the corner.
Still the Bluebirds went for the jugular and the impressive McClennan was denied a superb first goal for the club as he brilliantly improvised a lob that required Castle to back-pedal and claw the ball out from the underside of the bar.
Chippenham Town: David Richards, Adie Harris, Jacob Wannell, Ashley Williams, Greg Tindle, Alex Kite, Joe McCLennan, James Guthrie, Scott Lye (captain) Toby Osman 86), Tom Knighton (Dean Griffiths 75), Lee Phillips.
Subs not used: Iain Harvey, Alan Griffin, Jordan Tillson.
Barwell: Liam Castle, Scott Lower, Jack Edwards, Guy Hadland, Scott Rickards (David Barnett 65), Richard Lavery (Jamie McAteer 65), Jamie Towers, Scott Hadland (captain), Luke Barlone, Matthew Brown (Kevin Charley 71), Thomas Weale.
Subs not used: Justin Marsden, Nigel Julien.
Referee: Andrew Laver (Portsmouth)
Assistant referees: Paul Day Lyneham), Meryn Fernandez (Thatcham).
Yellow cards - Chippenham: McClennan 74, Phillips 39; Barwell: Rickards 3, Edwards 29, Lavery 47, Barlone 82.
HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE COMMENTS SECTION UNDERNEATH THIS STORY.
REACTION AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT TOMORROW AND CHIPPENHAM TOWN NEWS, REACTION & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES