Chippenham Town (0) 0 Bath City (2) 3 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 23 December 2017 – Hardenhuish Park
A bumper crop of travelling Romans witnessed Bath City claim back the A4 derby bragging rights with a superb victory over Chippenham Town. Two-goal midfielder Tom Smith was the darling of the away fans, who gave the Swindon loanee a standing ovation when he left the pitch late on. Twice his storming runs picked up on fine through balls and ended in cool finishes. Smith gave City – who had lost the return fixture 5-2 earlier this season – a first-half lead, double by Jack Compton’s penalty, and then added the third after the interval. It was a wholly deserved for City too, as they created the bulk of the chances and looked a regular menace bursting forward, with Smith starring in the No10 shirt, playing just behind lone striker Nat Jarvis. Chippenham, on the other hand, rarely looked threatening other than the occasional set-piece. With Bristol Rovers loanee Michael Kelly and Rhys Kavanagh involved for Bristol Rovers in a Gloucestershire Cup match with Bristol City on Friday afternoon, Jerry Gill was forced into two changes as Jack Batten and Nat Jarvis returned to the starting line-up.
Chippenham created the first opening of the day as concerted pressure ended in former City man Andy Sandell flicking into Luke Southwood’s gloves. That was the only truly difficult work the Reading loanee would be required to make in the first half as the Romans got into their stride. Compton had their maiden attempt on goal, a 35-yard free-kick that flew well off target, before the visitors went ahead on 11 minutes. Leaping Nat Jarvis flicked the ball on for Smith, who outpaced one defender and held off two more as he ran across the box and casually slipped his finish back across Chippenham stopper Jared Thompson. Cue delirium behind the goal for the City fans. In the celebrations a flare even found its way onto the Hardenhuish Park turf. That sparked a strong spell for City, with Compton at the heart of it. He jagged in from the right-hand byline and whipped a shot round the far post, aided by a deflection, from a tight angle. The Welsh winger then aimed for the bottom corner with a volley that almost caught out an unsighted Thompson, the ball scrambled wide by the keeper’ hands. However, the resulting corner saw Chippenham break down the right with Sandell. He was fouled by the backtracking Smith, with a minor fracas ensuing. Sandell briefly had his hands to Kevin Amankwaah’s throat while Dean Evans ran over to square up to Compton. Smith, Evans and Compton were booked in the aftermath. Greg Tindle nodded the resulting free-kick over the crossbar, while Southwood gathered a left-wing cross to end another strong spell of Town pressure. But with that repelled, City doubled their advantage just past the half-hour from the penalty spot. A Chippenham slip allowed Jarvis to break into the box where he was upended by Gary Horgan, giving Compton the chance sneak his spot kick past Thompson’s fingertips and into the bottom-right corner. James Guthrie wastefully smashed over a first-time effort after an Amankwaah clearance had ricocheted kindly off Sandell. There was a slightly better spell from the hosts as the half drew to a close, but they could not trouble Southwood. The Romans also threatened as Smith tore forward on a break, but was dispossessed as he cut into the penalty area.
The hosts began the second period on the front foot with Alex Ferguson having a close-in effort blocked by the City defence. But City went right back on the attack and Smith again found himself running in on goal, only to blaze wastefully over. There was an even better opportunity when the Chippenham defence were nowhere to be seen as the Romans broke three-on-one. Smith fed Compton into the penalty area, but Thompson’s legs were there to block and spare his team-mates. Southwood was finally called into action from a decent Chippenham free-kick, but again City were immediately up the far end, Compton just denied a chance for a headed goal from Dan Ball’s cross. Compton would get a shot away when the resulting corner found its way back to him, flashing an effort across the face of goal. A combination of the home defence and the woodwork temporarily stopped City from a third with Smith blocked out and Jarvis striking the post. They would not be denied number three, though. Southwood held a near-post Tindleheader and immediately the Romans roared up the other end, with Smith latching on to a through ball and finding the bottom corner for his brace. With the game sewn up Chippenham got a few efforts of their own in, but City were in no mood to relinquish their clean sheet. Artus bravely threw himself in the way of a Ferguson effort, while Amankwaah stopped Will Richards from close in and Robbie Batten was denied by another black and body.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Ball, Richards, Batten, Amankwaah, Edwards, Artus, Jarvis, Smith (Case 84), Compton (Rigg 84). Subs not used: Buck, McCootie, Hodges.
Scorers: City – Smith (11, 67), Compton (pen 31); Chippenham – none
City Bookings: Smith (17), Compton (18), Edwards (62)
Officials: T Reeves, M Shapland, D O’Shea