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FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND: Gloucester City 1 Chippenham Town 0
CHIPPENHAM Town’s FA Cup fairytale was brought to a heart-wrenching end as they were undone by an injury time goal at Gloucester City.
Darren Edwards’ goal in the first minute of added time ended the first round dreams of the Bluebirds, who had earlier had striker Dean Griffiths sent off.
It was Griffiths who went close to giving Chippenham the lead against their Conference North opponents just three minutes in.
Strike partner Alan Griffin went down in the box but the ball broke to Griffiths, whose shot was tipped on to the post by Tigers keeper Mike Green.
The Bluebirds rattled the woodwork for a second time in the opening ten minutes just moments later when Brandon Barnes volleyed goalwards from range and saw his effort crash against the crossbar.
Griffiths fired a left-footed shot wide and in the 21st minute, Alex Kite had to act quickly to clear Jordan Tillson’s cross from the six-yard box after it was missed by Conor Thompson.
Midway through the half, it was Gloucester’s turn to hit the woodwork as Mitch Harding unleashed a ferocious effort on the turn that smacked against the bar before bouncing to safety.
Early in the second half, Chippenham had a handball shot turned down against Tillson and from the resultant corner, Josh Egan had a strike cleared off the line.
Tensions threatened to boil over when Griffiths tangled with Tigers skipper Coupe and ended up throwing the Gloucester defender to the floor before both players were booked.
The hosts then began to take the advantage and a glorious chance went begging 56 minutes in when defender Tom Hamblin blazed over the bar from close range after Lewis Hogg’s cross was back-heeled into his path by Will Morford.
Shortly afterwards, Jack Harris floated a cross to the far post that was side-footed just wide of the target by the unmarked Tillson.
In the 74th minute, Chippenham’s chances of progressing to the next round were dealt a blow when Griffiths slid in to block Coupe’s clearance but caught the Gloucester man and was shown his second yellow card of the afternoon.
Substitute James Guthrie had an effort saved at the near post while at the other end, the Tigers’ Morford saw his shot on the turn curl wide of the target.
Despite the ten men of Chippenham’s best efforts, their resistance was finally broken a minute into extra time.
Midfielder Hogg was sent racing in the penalty area and had space to square the ball to Edwards, who calmly side-footed home to book Gloucester’s place in the first round proper.
Griffin almost dramatically snatched an equaliser in the dying moments when his volley was nearly spilled into the net by goalie Green but Nathan Rudge’s side were left to deal with the pain of cup defeat.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Conor Thompson, Alex Kite, Brandon Barnes (James Guthrie 69), Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Nathan Rudge, Josh Egan (Luke Ballinger 84), Scott Rogers (Adie Harris 90), Alan Griffin, Dean Griffiths, Iain Harvey.
Subs not used: Ben Wickens, Richard Fey.
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