Clevedon United 3, Chippenham Town 2

CHIPPENHAM Town saw their winning start to the year in the Southern League ended in atrocious conditions at Clevedon Town on Tuesday.

Goals from Sean Seavill and the returning David Pratt could not prevent the Seasiders taking a 3-2 victory in the pouring rain at the Hand Stadium.

Clevedon, who fielded former Bluebirds Dale Peckham and Josh Brigham in their starting line-up, and Jon Else on the bench, took the lead with 15 minutes played.

Kyle Bassett had already spurned one opportunity early on but the winger made no mistake at the second time of asking, sprinting in behind the defence and slotting past Chris Snoddy from close in.

The lead only lasted 11 minutes, though, as Seavill broke from midfield and an exchange of passes resulted in him rifling a fizzing half volley into the left corner.

Chippenham’s joy was brief. Just after the half hour the Bluebirds failed to deal with Pete Sheppard’s cross into the area, and when the ball eventually came out to the same man on the edge of the area, he stroked the ball through a crowd of players and into the net.

The visitors rallied in the later stages of the half but an off-target long range strike from Scott Lye was all they had to show for their efforts.

Sheppard should have got his second and Clevedon’s third just before half time, but he inexplicably shot wide from eight yards after beating Alex Kite with a quick turn.

Kite was turned again at the start of the second half, this time by Tom Billing, and although Billing’s shot was on target, Snoddy saved it comfortably.

Ashley Williams was not too far away with an audacious volley from way out before controversy erupted in the 64th minute.

In the worsening rain, Pratt raced onto Sam Allison’s pass and as he leapt over a defender who had lost his footing, appeared to be clipped by the defender’s hand.

But the referee waved away the appeals and three minutes later Seavill felt he should have had a penalty in a similar incident.

The frontman was fouled and a free kick was given on the edge of the area instead of the spot kick Seavill wanted, and the set piece came to nothing.

To add insult to injury for the sodden Bluebirds, Clevedon went 3-1 up on 72 minutes.

The impressive Bassett, whose pace had troubled Chippenham all night, sped to the by-line and his centre was tucked away by Danny Wring.

Scott Lye had a shot hacked off the line inside the last 10 minutes before Pratt smashed in a penalty three minutes from time to give the visitors hope.

A frantic finale ensued and in the third minute of injury time Kye Holly was dismissed for dissent, before the referee blew the final whistle seconds later.

Chippenham boss Adie Mings had no complaints at the result but did feel his team should have had a penalty in the second half.

“I think the foul on Dave Pratt was a definite penalty,” he said.

“The lad slipped to the ground and Dave jumped over him, and he (Pratt) tripped on his hand when he was on the floor.

“The linesman failed to spot the incident which would have put us back into the game at 2-2. Sometimes those things go for you and sometimes they don’t.”