Even with a change of opposition this match again saw two controversial decisions cost the Bluebirds their proud record of never losing an opening day fixture in the Southern League that stretches back to August 2001.
With Shaun Lamb, Greg Tindle
, Alex Kite and keeper Chris Snoddy all unavailable in defence for a variety of reasons and Scott Lye missing from midfield the Bluebirds gave debuts to keeper Will Puddy and Calne right back Mani Randhawa.
On a rock-hard pitch liberally covered in weeds and bare patches Chippenham weathered an early storm to take a 13th minute lead courtesy of Dave Gilroy. Randhawa’s throw skidded off home defender Aaron Griffiths’ head and Gilroy was in the right place to guide his headed effort past a stranded Lewis Solly.
Stourbridge hit back but efforts from Ryan Rowe, Josh Craddock and Sam Rock were either wide or comfortably dealt with by Puddy and his defence. Alan Griffin could have extended the Bluebirds lead but his attempt to loft the ball over Solly went high.
After a Sean Geddes free kick narrowly curled wide the ex-Walsall man hit another low free kick into the box in stoppage time and the ball bobbled through to Puddy who blocked the effort but Rowe reacted quickest to turn the ball over the line.
The first of two controversial incidents came on the hour mark when Geddes’ cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Josh Craddock before bouncing down on the line. The referee appeared undecided but after consulting his assistant a goal was awarded. In the protests that followed Iain Harvey
Chippenham almost responded immediately as a long ball forward found Gilroy whose angled shot was saved by Solly. Eight minutes from time Chippenham’s bad luck continued when Toby Osman appeared to win the ball cleanly when he tackled Rowe inside the area.
Again the referee deferred a decision but was called over by the same assistant and on his advice Osman was shown a red card and a penalty was awarded from which Geddes sent Puddy the wrong way.
Chippenham: Will Puddy, Mani Randhawa, Toby Osman, Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Nathan Rudge, Jack Pitcher, Iain Harvey
(Ross Stearn 68), Dave Gilroy (Kye Holly 68), Alan Griffin, James Guthrie
subs not used: Curtis Jack, Lewis Powell, Aaron Cornwall
Stourbridge: Lewis Solly, Sam Rock, Aaron Griffiths (Drew Canavan 74), Paul McCone, Sean Geddes, Nathan Bennett, Paul Lloyd, Leon Broadhurst, Ryan Rowe (Lindon Dovey 86), James Dyson, Josh Craddock (Ryan Mahon 81) subs not used: Craig Slater, Sam Smith
Ref: Michael Bingham (Leamington Spa)
Ass Refs: Robbie Dadley (Bedworth), Craig Gee (Bedworth)