CHIPPENHAM Town drew 1-1 with rivals Bath City on Boxing Day in a game that featured a red card for either side at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium.

For the third successive game against the Romans, the Bluebirds scored first, but having gone on to lose the previous two, Mike Cook’s men managed to halt that slide – though Chippenham are now on the club’s longest home run without a win since joining National League South four seasons ago.

Able to host fans for the first time since March, Chippenham began brightly in front of the 500-plus crowd and took the lead in the 27th minute when Ed Jones’ whipped cross looped off Jack Batten, over Will Henry, and into the net.

The Bluebirds joy was short lived, however, as Klaidi Lolos – making his home debut – saw red for an awful tackle on Bath’s Tom Mehew seven minutes before half-time.

Able to regroup at the break, Chippenham saw a golden opportunity to go two goals up wasted when Ross Stearn broke free and slipped in Brad Ash one-on-one. Ash got his effort horribly wrong though, slicing a shot well off target while leaning back, and Bath survived.

Callum Gunner cleared Batten’s header off the line on the hour, but Bath would manage to go one better with 15 minutes to play.

Frankie Artus’ dangerous cross from the right saw goalkeeper Will Puddy come rushing off his line to meet it, but Freddie Grant leaped well and beat the stopper to the ball, heading into an unguarded net.

Following the levelling of the scoreline, the playing numbers were evened up with three minutes to go after Donovan Wilson left a boot in on Puddy when overrunning the ball.

Henry made an excellent save from Alex Bray as time expired, and Chippenham were left to settle for a point against their near-neighbours.

Reacting to a thrilling A4 derby, Chippenham manager Mike Cook told Chippenham Town’s club media: “I’m reasonably pleased because I thought for the first half an hour, we were the better team and we deserved to go 1-0 up.

“We were playing quite nicely, and we had control of the game, but then Klaidi makes a silly tackle – I’ve got no arguments with him getting sent off for that. These days, any time you raise your foot like that, you’re going to be off.

“In the second half, they knocked it about well without really causing a lot of damage in behind, but we held them out for a while.

“Even after they scored, we still had three or four more chances where we could have won it.”