Chipps are down for Saints

Another away day to forget for St Albans City

Southern Premier League

Chippenham Town 4 St Albans City 0

ST ALBANS City’s travel sickness continued at Chippenham Town on Tuesday night as they surrendered meekly to Adie Ming’s side.

The Saints have won just once on the road this season – away at Barwell – and have only picked up four points in total away from Clarence Park. That run showed no signs of abating at Hardenhuish Park on Tuesday with the home side never looking in danger from the moment Toby Osman fired them in front.

Howell’s side had come into the game unbeaten in two games, playing with a fresh confidence following the club’s recent transfer dealings. The acquisitions of Nathan Ralph, Chris O’Leary and QPR duo Mo Shariff and Michael Harriman had given the struggling Saints the boost they had needed. But with Ralph already back at parent club Peterborough United following a double fracture to his wrist coupled with the news that Chris O’Leary had returned to Wealdstone just 14 days after leaving for Clarence Park the Saints were almost back to square one.

The outcome could have been different had Danny Hart made better contact with a bouncing ball in the six yard box with just 60 seconds on the referee’s watch but the former Barnet man’s effort was tentative and turned behind for a corner by a defender.

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It was a rare moment of worry for the home side who went on to dominate the first half. It came as no surprise when Osman opened the scoring, latching onto Ross Stearn’s glorious crossfield pass, his first touch good enough to leave Harriman wrong footed before blasting the ball past Jupp from the edge of the area.

Six minutes later Chippenham added a second goal, courtesy of a goalkeeping howler from Jupp.

Stearn was the beneficiary, seeing his drilled cross catch the goalkeeper cold at his near post and fly into the net at the far post.

The goals temporarily dried up for Chippenham from that point but St Albans’ problems continued to mount as loanee Shariff limped out of the action with a back injury on 37 minutes.

Sakho Bakare took his place but it was Hart who had City’s only other effort of intent in the opening 45 minutes when he volleyed over the crossbar after Jupp’s free kick had found its way into his path.

It was the winger’s last contribution as Jerome Walker took his place for the second half and the Saints were better after the break but Chippenham goalkeeper Will Puddy still wasn’t tested. Ryan Moran headed onto the roof of the net from a Sean Shields corner while a set piece from the other side was turned onto the post by Bakare.

Saints’ best opening fell to captain Rob Haworth but he was unable to capitalise, firing over the bar from close range. Barrie Matthews, recalled to the side in O’Leary’s absence, lofted the ball into the box for Cutchey to help on. Bakare controlled the ball first time on his chest before turning it into the path of his strike partner six yards out. Haworth hit the ball with real venom – admitting afterwards that he had hit it too well – and it rose above Puddy and kissed the crossbar on it’s way over.

That set back dented Saints’ confidence further and they succumbed to two further goals in the last 20 minutes. The first saw Stearn collect an over-hit cross out on the right wing before picking out the unmarked Lewis Powell to head home his first goal of the season from all of five yards.

Powell, a proven goalscorer for Chippenham in recent seasons, had been having a barren time of it this year opening his account in this, his 18th game of the campaign. He didn’t have long to wait for number two though as he put the icing on a good evening for the Wiltshire club driving the ball low past the despairing dive of Jupp from 20 yards out.

Chippenham Town: Puddy; Williams �, Randhawa, Casey, Lamb; Stearn, Harvey, Osman. Guthrie; Powell, Griffin (Pitcher 75).

Subs not used: Sandell, Wilson.

St Albans City: Jupp; Harriman, Moran, Cutchey, Watts; Sean Shields, Ijaha, Matthews, Hart (Walker 46); Haworth � (Ehui 75), Shariff (Bakare 37).

Subs not used: Bent, Jinadu.

Referee: Andrew Newell (North Yate)

Att: 287.