St Albans City beaten by Chippenham Town

ST ALBANS City have now gone four Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division games without a win.

After a tough week for the club, during which chairman Ian Ridley resigned, the Saints slid to a 2-0 defeat to Chippenham Town at a soaked Clarence Park this afternoon (Saturday).

The Saints had the majority of possession, but not for the first time this season were unable to punish their opponents who netted in either half.

David Howell’s troops started brightly enough in the rain with Barry Hayles and teenager midfielder Matt Taylor both firing off target.

Chippenham went the closest though in the opening 15 minutes as James Guthrie crossed for Luke Ballinger who struck a post, only to then be ruled offside.

The home side earned a free-kick 20 yards from goal and Ryan Watt’s goalbound curler was headed over for a corner, which came to nothing.

Despite their start City fell behind on 24 minutes.

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A mix-up between keeper Nick Jupp and Danny Gordon saw the ball loop into the air and an excellently executed acrobatic volley from Town’s Tom Knighton sailed over Jupp and in.

Richard Graham, back in the City starting XI after a spell on the sidelines injured, proved his worth as a creative force.

He firstly delivered a free-kick which skipper James Gray headed tamely to Town keeper Ben John, Graham them delivered for Hayles who nodded well off target.

As the hosts continued to huff and puff right back Chris Seeby cut in from his flank and saw his effort deflected straight to keeper John.

City were almost caught guilty of handing their opponents a second on the stroke of half-time.

Taylor gave the ball away in his own half to goalscorer Knighton who fed Guthrie and his shot went narrowly past Jupp’s left hand post.

A slow start to the second half was only brightened by the unusual sight of seeing play stopped after one of the linesman’s flags broke and he disappeared to the changing rooms to find another one.

The Saints were being pressed by the Bluebirds every time they had the ball and had little time to dwell on it.

Chippenham created few chances, but on a rare attack Guthrie was denied by a smart Jupp stop at his near post.

City had their best chance of the game in the 66th minute.

Taylor set Chris Henry away down the left flank; he sent a wonderful low cross into the six yard box for Sean Shields who somehow fired over when it seemed easier to score.

After that moment, City didn’t really threaten with Graham’s deflected shot to keeper John the only opportunity of note.

The final hammer blow came with six minutes to play.

Gordon gave away a free-kick on the right and the following set-piece from Adie Harris was flicked on to substitute Dean Griffiths who volleyed home from six yards.

In the dying stages Henry was denied by a sprawling John with the ball dropping for Graham who had his effort blocked.

The result sees City remain sixth in the league table, they next head to Bashley on Saturday, December 1.