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CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Chippenham Town 4 Cambridge City 3
Chippenham Town claimed their first win of the new season earlier today with an exhilarating victory over Cambridge City.
The Bluebirds had to put their bodies on the line to come out on the right end of a seven-goal thriller on a dramatic afternoon at Hardenhuish Park.
The early drama was created by a ferocious thunderstorm and the ensuing downpour that made for a scrappy opening but 16 minutes in, Chippenham were ahead.
Shaun Lamb floated a free-kick into the area and despite Alex Kite going down and appealing for a penalty, play continued with Alan Griffin heading the ball on and finding strike partner Lee Phillips, who nodded home at the far post.
Then in a flash, the Bluebirds went 2-0 up when Luke Ballinger’s free-kick took a devilish deflection off the Cambridge wall and nestled into the bottom right-hand corner, giving City keeper Enol Ordonez no chance.
On 28 minutes, the visitors pulled a goal back when right-back Tom Pepper got in down the right and played a low ball to striker Mitchel Bryant, who produced a clever backheeled finish to make it 2-1.
But the pendulum swung back Chippenham’s way when they were awarded a penalty minutes later, with Griffin going down as he wrestled with Dave Theobald.
The Bluebirds striker took the kick and made no mistake low to the keeper’s right as he restored his side’ two-goal lead.
But with two minutes of the half remaining, Cambridge were handed a spot-kick of their own when defender Theobald headed down from a corner, with the ball striking the arm of Griffin, leading to referee Daniel Leach pointing to the spot again.
Josh Dempsey got a hand to Craig Hammond’s penalty but the strike was too hot to handle and arrowed into the top corner to make it 3-2.
After a pulsating first half, the second period also began at whirlwind pace and it only took five minutes for City to strike again.
James Brighton’s corner was headed goalward by Lee Chaffey and Dempsey produced a brilliant reaction save.
But he could only palm the ball out to the feet of Cambridge’s Theobald, who side-footed home the equaliser.
But Chippenham roared back and instantly regained their lead from the kick-off.
A flowing attack ended with Phillips rounding keeper Ordonez before laying the ball back across the face of goal for Griffin to arrive and slam his finish into the roof of the net.
Both sides continued to create goalscoring opportunities, with Dempsey tipping Bryant’s volley over, Ballinger drawing an acrobatic save from Ordonez and Brighton’s free-kick skimming the bar.
With the 90 minutes drawing to a close, City’s Bryant managed to head over when he was found unmarked by Pepper and at the other end, Bluebirds substitute Dean Griffiths tested the Cambridge keeper with a driven shot.
And the visitors soon went on all-out attack as added time drew on and on, with the men in white bombarding the Chippenham area with set-pieces and long balls.
Ashley Williams hooked a goalbound effort off the line and striker Bryant had a low effort tipped away to safety.
Then, with 95 minutes on the clock, referee Leach finally brought proceedings to a close as the Bluebirds cleared their lines but in the previous goalmouth melee, Kite and Pepper suffered a nasty clash of heads, with both players requiring treatment and the Cambridge man having to be stretchered off the pitch.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Josh Dempsey, Toby Osman (Iain Harvey 70), Shaun Lamb, Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Alex Kite, Luke Ballinger, Scott Rogers, Alan Griffin, James Guthrie (Brandon Barnes 79), Lee Philips (Dean Griffiths 62).
Subs not used: Dave Gilroy, Tom Seery.