Chippenham 'A' continue promotion hunt
By Mark Knight
Vital home win
Chippenham A hosted Taunton Civil Service this week.
Chippenham started slowly against the struggling visitors, with poor first touches, decision making and general play in the opening exchanges.
An ageing Taunton side came to Chippenham with the exact same game plan as they had when Chippenham had travelled to Taunton earlier in the season - 10 players playing in defence and leaving 1 high looking to hit Chippenham on the break.
Chippenham dominated possession and territory throughout the match but looked sleepy, and took several minutes to find their form.
Returning midfielder Chris Instone provided a spark to ignite the home team, dribbling swiftly past 3 Taunton players to put Elliot Jones through to sweep the ball beneath the diving keeper 1-0 to Chippenham.
However, Chippenham were not firing on all cylinders this week and despite their dominance in the first half were only able to add one more goal when defender and Captain Darren Bean struck an accurate cross field pass to the top of the packed Taunton D, finding youngster Ben Shardlow who slapped the ball towards goal, deflecting into the path of a waiting Marcus Vevey on the far post to slot the ball home.
A brief scare for the home side came when Taunton made a rare first half break into the Chippenham D when they found the home side central defence sleeping and leaving a player unmarked. The resulting strike on goal was initially saved by on-rushing keeper
Howard Simons, which deflected the ball high and looping towards the empty Chippenham goal, however, defender Simon King recovered from the earlier lapse in concentration to coolly take the ball on the goal line from mid air to the ground, and in the same movement under control, slip the ball left for Nigel Stonham to clear the Chippenham lines... Phew!!
The half ended 2-0 to Chippenham.
It is fair to say that the second half saw some of the poorest Hockey from the home side seen this season - half time discussion and points raised and agreed on simply weren’t employed, and it appeared Chippenham had dragged themselves down to the Taunton level of play, and in doing so, allowed the Taunton team to gain more possession and move the ball around more, thereby growing in confidence.
Despite this Chippenham added two more goals to their own tally with a couple of rare flashes of brilliance in the second half.
Craig Kilminster first to add to the scoreline when a through ball found him 1 on 1 with the keeper, where he skilfully rounded the diving keeper, and calmly flicked the ball into the roof of the Taunton goal, past a retreating defender. 3-0.
Marcus Vevey added a fourth goal, to complete a brace of goals for him, when he fired home from close range to make the scoreline 4-0.
Taunton continued to press Chippenham on the break, and a loose ball from the home midfield found its way to a Taunton midfielder who threaded the ball to their lone striker 1 on 1 with Chippenham keeper Howard Simons, who was forced to play as ‘sweeper keeper’ out of his D to sweep the ball off the side line to prevent the Taunton attack.
Taunton eventually struck back with a goal, when Chippenham failed to stop the Taunton attack in the dying minutes of the match, and was a bit of a disappointing finish to the match, the final score 4-1 to Chippenham.
Chippenham will need to reflect on their performance, taking positives from the good points in their game, but there were many areas where they will look to eradicate mistakes and concentrate on returning to the fast, free-flowing and attacking hockey they have been playing for most of the season.
At the end of the day 3 points won and 3 goals to add to their goal difference are what counts as Chippenham maintain their league position in second place, and look to put the performance this week behind them.