Bath City (0) 0 Chippenham Town (0) 0 – Monday 1 January 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Bath City (0) 0 Chippenham Town (0) 0 – Monday 1 January 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

The New Year kicked off with a goalless draw between Bath City and Chippenham Town for the second year running.

This latest contest at Twerton Park, in front of a record-breaking A4 Derby attendance, contained more excitement than the 2023 snooze-fest at Hardenhuish, but defences excelled in torrential rain.

Matt McClure hit the outside of the post and Cody Cooke was superbly thwarted from Will Henry in the best openings of the game.

But neither side could find a breakthrough as City played a 0-0 at home for the first time since April 2022.

With a fluid formation, Chippenham tried to catch the Romans cold early with Ed Williams’ 25-yarder well gobbled out by Will Buse.

Scott Wilson went down from Dan Ellison’s challenge in the box after over-running the ball, and the collision hampered his movement. With him still limping, Chippenham manoeuvred an attack with McClure weaving into space in the box before striking the outside of the post before Dan Greenslade cleared.

City switched to 4-3-3 with Jordan Thomas through the middle and it created more penetration going forward.

Cooke’s attempted backheel from Dan Hayfield’s low centre was easily gathered by Henry and the impressive Greenslade tried to put in another Goal of the Season contender, but his thumping strike was blocked by McClure who threw himself in the way.

Jordan Dyer’s header from Luke Russe’s hanging ball was headed too close to Henry as City ended the half strongly.

After a quiet opening to the second half, on 56 minutes Luke Spokes’ thunderous strike from 35 yards was batted down and taken by Buse.

Within 60 seconds City’s best opening came and went. Jordan Thomas’ driving run ended with an incisive ball to Cooke, whose first touch saw him create room before his low drive from 12 yards was magnificently turned away by Henry for a corner.

Wilson tried in desperation to break the deadlock just past the hour. After substitute Ewan Clark had miscued Joe Raynes’ cross, he swifty retrieved the ball and saw his telling cross-shot to the back post helped over by Wilson on the stretch from a couple of yards out.

Like the Boxing Day match, it was a case of more entertainment as time progressed. Clark’s raking drive was batted behind by Henry with Kieran Parselle nodding Thomas’ resulting delivery off target.

Chippenham switched to a back four with Eddie Jones on as an attack-minded full-back for Nat Williams. They began to create more with fellow replacements Tyreke Johnson and Tom Mehew also soon involved. Parselle needed to bravely nod away McClure’s delicate header inside to Mehew when the midfielder lined up a shot.

The Bluebirds nearly snatched it in the third minute of time added on when Ed Williams dug out a shot just over from 15 yards, much to the relief of the home faithful who gasped their relief.

A goal for either side would have been harsh on the strong defensive rearguards, who more than earned their clean sheets – City’s 10th of the season in National League South.

Att: 2495

City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Cooke, Frear (Clark 61), Thomas (Thorn 86), Wilson, Russe (Smith 65). Subs not used: Batten, Lines.

Scorers: City – none; Chippenham – none

City Bookings: none

Officials: C Scriven, M Underhay, J Pike